While out jogging this morning, I turned a corner and was surprised by four deer frolicking together in the open beside the road, only 30 feet from me. My first reaction was to grab my phone to snap a picture so I could show it to my wife and share it on Facebook. However, the deer were as startled as I was, and before I could open my photo app, they bounded away into an apple orchard.
While walking to cool down, I reflected on my reaction. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the deer was to share the experience. When something special happens in my life, I usually want to share it. If I have really good news, I might even mention it publically, on Facebook, in church or in a magazine article like this one.
The Greek word used in the Bible for the gospel literally means “good news.” It was used to proclaim victory in wartime and to announce celebration, at least for those on the winning side. It wasn’t a philosophical term but rather signified that something wonderful had happened for the victorious news-giver and his allies.
We get a sense of the gospel as good news when characters in the Bible encounter Jesus. For example, when the Apostle Paul’s sight was restored after his roadside conversion, “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20). Andrew and Phillip took a more personal approach to telling the news of Jesus’ call. Andrew immediately shared about Jesus with his brother Simon, and Phillip called his friend Nathaniel to “come and see” (John 1:46). Their first experiences sharing the good news came one-on-one.
That’s something AFM’s missionaries specialize in. They share the good news personally with their Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, animist and secular friends. To be able to share like that, they first have to build relationships of trust, like Andrew with his brother and Phillip with his friend. Those relationships take time to develop, sometimes years. Support and prayer from people like you and me provides that time.
Today I invite you consider how you can help provide time to cross-cultural missionaries so they can build relationships toward sharing the gospel. I also encourage you to reflect on how you can share the good news about Jesus’ victory in your life. Social media is a public place to do that, and at AFM, we share good news from our missionaries through Facebook and Twitter. We would love for you to see and share that news. But more than through social media, I invite you to think about an individual who is important to you with whom you’ve developed the trust to share. Consider how you could talk with that person about the gospel one-on-one. After all, Jesus has changed your life. That’s good news worth sharing!