8/31/12 Jose, about 50
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matt. 10:16) Just like Jesus' original disciples, I believe we too are sent out among wolves. And also like His disciples, I don't think we are to bury our head in the sand and pretend opposition to the Gospel doesn't exist. So what does it mean to be both shrewd and innocent when it comes to proclaiming the Kingdom of Heaven? For me, innocence implies a simple trust. A trust that comes from fixing our eyes on the only One who is trustworthy. I'm reminded of Peter, leaving the comfort zone of the fishing boat, walking on the water toward Jesus. It might have been helpful for him to see the storm and the waves in his peripheral vision, but when he took his eyes off Jesus, he became afraid and began to sink. As I step out on faith to share the Gospel, I come across opposing beliefs and opinions that, like the storm and waves, threaten to take my eyes off of Jesus. For example, today while grocery shopping I spoke with an older man named Jose who claims that the Old Testament can't be accurate because it was originally written in an unknown language that existed before the Tower of Babel. He had heard about this on some cable TV program, and frankly such an ignorant lie isn't worthy of repeating lest it gain credibility through repetition and create doubt in those who would otherwise trust in the Bible. But I do repeat it, because as Jesus' followers we are called to engage the culture to share our faith, and the reality is that lies, rumors, doubts and criticisms exist. We gain in credibility when we have intelligent answers to these questions. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15) Our preparation should focus on Jesus and knowing God's word, building an innocent trust in the Lord and an expectation that He is actively working in the people we talk to. But we should also be shrewd, ready with answers for the kinds of questions people may have. My hope is that the witnessing accounts I write will maintain a godly balance between helping others to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.