The Lost Art of Speaking the Gospel

Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be on my lips.

James 5:13

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

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A member of St. John once offered this analogy: If someone saved your life, would it be OK to think about your thankfulness and have an attitude of gratitude toward him or her? Or would it be better – and more appropriate – to go to that person’s house, knock on the door, and offer your thanks and praise in person?

It is a somewhat common axiom: Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary use words.” Apart from the fact that it is impossible to preach the gospel without words of some kind, it is true that nonverbal communication conveys 80% of any message. Things like tone of voice, context of comment, body language, and facial expression all go into the process of communication. The twin adage that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care is also offered as proof that talk is cheap.

The foundation of the Christian faith, nonetheless, is the Bible: a collection of words that convey profound and eternal truths. Only through the revelation of God’s grace and truth in Jesus Christ, his Son do we know of God’s most profound gifts. And the Bible calls for us to express our faith, thankfulness, and joy in words and songs.

Perhaps you shared the gifts for which you are thankful around the Thanksgiving table yesterday. Maybe you gathered for worship and sang God’s praises. You might be heading out for some Black Friday shopping, and be cheerful because of the bargains you are able to obtain. In any event God delights in your words of praise, and calls for us to praise him constantly.

The unique calling of those who call Jesus Lord is that our praise is to be constant and continuous. That’s because we praise and thank God for his gifts and character. While his gifts may vary, his character is unchanging. He is good and worthy of our praise.

I am thankful for Jesus’ gift of abundant life. I intend to show that thankfulness today in the way I act and in what I say: Thanks be to God!

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