I'm thinking about going back to school....for the rest of my life.
I still remember John, a former parishioner, who would often tell me, "Reverend, I'm a student of the Bible and you should be to." John was blind when I first met him. He was 99 when he entered the church eternal. To my knowledge, he didn't have a Braille Bible.
During the 8 years I knew John, he lived in a nursing home and would daily sing hymns to nurses, aids, and doctors. He would talk about Jesus openly with all. He walked the halls for his daily exercise and would count the steps in each hallway. His routine of eating was unique; the aid would describe John's tray and tell him where each food and beverage item was according to a clock face. John always liked his coffee at twelve o'clock. The model of practicing his faith was such an incredible witness to all who entered John's room. He never considered his blindness a liability. Nothing stopped John from witnessing his faith except his final breath. And ever since his death, I believe his life and legacy are both still touching people.
I often wonder about church goers who appear to be angaged in worship and Bible studies but never seem to have any measurable or definable ministry. Their faith is a privitized affair that is held in a small box in a quiet compartment. It's sort of like a person who spends a lifetime learning but never applying their learnings. John would probably tell disengaged people of their need to be lifelong students of the Bible. (They seem to be doing this.) John would then show them how to use their learnings to take Jesus to one more person (This does not seem to be a priority for many students of the Bible.)
There has never been a more critical time in history to be speaking about God's grace and mercy, about God's justness and spiritual power, and about God's love and forgiveness. People need to know that their sins can be forgiven and they don't have to live with guilt and shame. Students of the Bible are commanded to use what they know to change the world one soul at a time. Check out the persecuted apostles who found they could not 'not' speak of Jesus Christ!!
"Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of
Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you
rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Acts 4:18-20, NIV)
Given the dearth of witnessing and the wealth of ways to speak the Gospel, surely you and I can find creative avenues to spread the Good News.
A phone call
The internet (an email, Facebook, etc)
A meaningful card sent
A warm handshake
Simply talking to another as a friend
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and
as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you
do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father
through him." (Colossians 3:16-17, NIV)