11/2/12 Various People
In the 1960's, a writer named Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase "The medium is the message". I have understood this to mean that the way we communicate a message can be just as important or even more important than the message itself. For years this had driven my ideas about evangelism, usually resulting in so much uncertainty about the way that I should communicate the Gospel that I would just remain silent. I rationalized that I would let my actions do the speaking for me instead. But all that did was draw attention to the fact that I believed the Gospel but chose to be silent about it. And what message did my silence speak? Did it say "I don't care about you"? "I'm ashamed of to be known as a follower of Jesus"? "I don't really believe in the Gospel"? "It's just not that important"? or how about "My comfort zone is more important than your eternal fate"? In his letter to the Phillipians, Paul states that he doesn't care that some preachers are motivated by pride as long as the gospel is preached. I believe Paul was saying that the message is more important than the medium by which it is communicated or even than the messenger. It reaasures me that even my worst efforts at sharing the Gospel are worthwhile. For example, over the weekend, I was on a long road trip. I wanted to initiate a witnessing conversation at the next rest area, but when I got there I was so tired from driving that I took a nap first. When I woke up, I walked around between the car parking lot and the trucker's side and tried to use million dollar gospel tracts to engage people in conversation as they came and went.. Usually, it only takes a few attempts to start a conversation but this time nobody would talk with me. Somehow I was off, probably because I was still groggy from sleeping. I'm sure people thought I was crazy, and if I was still driven by McCluhan's statement, I would think that the way I was attempting to communicate the message was doing more harm than good for the cause of Christ. But our God is bigger than that. The Holy Spirit can use even our worst failures, especially when they are driven by faith and obedience. I still take McLuhan's statement into consideration, because unbelievers deserve our best efforts. But I will not remain silent. Like evangelist D.L. Moody famously said when a lady criticized him for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody’s reply was "I agree with you. I don’t like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?" The lady replied, "I don’t do it." Moody retorted, "Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." We have a message to share, and regardless of the medium through which we share it, it isn't meant to be kept silent.