It happens whenever I am having dinner with friends. There is that awkward moment when the server brings the food, the plates are set in front of us, we marvel at our order (or wish we had ordered what a friend did) and then…We all look at each other and wonder if someone is going to suggest we say a prayer.
In this moment, what would Jesus do?
Believe it or not, we have a story in which Jesus was faced with such an awkward moment. He was eating dinner with two friends He had just met on the road to Emmaus. Their food was brought to them and then—then Jesus prayed. Jesus did what was normal and natural to Him. He gave thanks.
We have lots of stories of Jesus beginning a meal by offering a blessing of thanks. One of the most famous stories is the feeding of the five thousand. Remember? Jesus took the little boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fish, and He blessed them.
Prayers of thanksgiving were a natural and authentic part of Jesus’ life and His relationship with His Father. When He arrived in Emmaus, He simply did what He did all of the time.
Here’s the fourth lesson: Jesus practiced His relationship with His Father in full view of others.
Christians, we have been told to downplay the ways we express our faith in everyday rituals such as saying a blessing before meals. When we do this, it backfires. People who watch us compromise our faith in real life situations conclude that our faith must not be important to us. We preach gratitude, but we don’t give thanks. We preach fidelity, but aren’t faithful. So if our faith isn’t important to us, why should anyone else take it seriously?
Evangelism in the postmodern setting is a total life expression.
– This is the basic definition of integrity: our words and our lives don’t contradict themselves.
With all of the very public failings of well-known Christian personalities, don’t be surprised if this method takes longer than you think it should. People are skeptical, which makes it all the more important that we live out our love for Christ consistently and authentically. We shouldn’t be obnoxious about it. You don’t have to sing your blessing in the local diner, but you do have to be quietly faithful.
Believe it or not, this quiet consistency will open up more opportunities to continue the discussion.
In postmodern evangelism, people are listening to your whole life.
Today’s assignment: Let your life speak.
It speaks it many ways — how you spend your money, how you spend your time, how you react under stress, how you drive, how you eat, how you rest, how you make decisions, how you pray. What is your life saying about your relationship with God?
I’ll be back with the last lesson.