I seem to many people to be pushing myself forward, with my lack of knowledge and my lame language...
- Patrick, Confession (British, 6th century)
I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power...
- 1 Corinthians 2.3, 4
Many Christians are reluctant to initiate a conversation with a view to bending it toward spiritual matters, toward the Gospel.
Some are reluctant because their church has not taught them this is anything for them to be concerned about: just bring people to church and we'll evangelize them there.
Others are reluctant because they don't feel like they know the Gospel well enough to talk to others about it. Yet they claim to believe it?
Most perhaps are like Patrick. Patrick was a high school dropout who learned his theology catch-as-catch-can, becoming a deacon and a priest perhaps mainly because he was one of few men available for the job.
He mentions several times in his Confession that he was not a learned man, did not know his letters very well, and did not write with polish. He was a rustic, as he said, and unlearned. But he had experienced the living Christ, as Paul had, and neither of them could deny what Jesus had done in their lives.
Paul and Patrick had to talk about Jesus, because Jesus was the most real thing in their lives. Jesus filled their minds, commanded their hearts, and was their highest priority in all things. So they could not speak well. Big deal; they knew the Spirit would use their efforts to talk about Jesus, no matter how poor their phrasing.
And they were right.
We have a simple message to proclaim: Jesus Christ is Lord! We can do this in simple words, and then talk with people about our own experience as we invite them to consider how our King Jesus can change their lives.
But will we? Today? Are you planning and praying for it right now? Will you be alert to that open door of opportunity which says, "Come on through, start talking, and let's see where this goes"?
Jesus has commissioned us as He did Paul and Patrick. They were faithful in their day, and we have the Gospel today precisely because they were.
Shall we be faithful in our day as well?