"I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love. I love to tell the story because I know it’s true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do."
I’m guessing most of you have heard that old hymn by Arabella Hankey at one time or another. I love to tell the story.
Do you? Of course, for those of us who know what Jesus has done for us, we know how valuable that story is.
We know how important it is for everyone to know it. But do you love to tell it?
Or are there times when you are a little afraid to…when you hesitate to tell it? Chances are, both are true.
The story is simple. We are sinners. Jesus took the punishment for our sins and paid our entry price for heaven.
Whoever believes has eternal life. John 3:16 sums that up pretty well.
"God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
And today, our text from Romans 10 reminds us that everyone needs to hear that.
This weekend, at Abiding Grace, we’ll be celebrating our Mission Festival.
There are presentations from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and also during Sunday school on Sunday.
Missionary Larry Schlomer will also be preaching on Sunday at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., sharing with us news of some of the work our mission offerings are helping our missionaries accomplish.
In Romans 10, Paul reminds us that we’ve been given the gift of God’s word and the treasure of faith.
Then he takes it a step further and says,
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)
Everyone. Which begs Paul’s next question:
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:14-15)
In other words, we’ve been given a gift and we’ve got a job to do. And it is no easy task.
It starts with each of us living Christ’s light in our lives and taking advantage of opportunities to talk about God’s love for us in our everyday lives.
But then it’s much more than that as well.
We have opportunities to tell the good news with only a limited number of people.
There are people all over the world living without the peace of knowing God loves them, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that they are God’s children.
That’s where our missions come in. With our mission offerings, we send people and resources and materials around the world to be used to share the good news.
We lift up their work with our prayers. And this fall, Abiding Grace will be sending me to go teach at a seminary in Nigeria for a month — as we try to train local leaders with the truth of the word to share the story with their own people.
What can you do? It’s an important question to ask, and while you’re thinking of the answer, for now I’d ask that you keep all this work in your prayers.
And as you do, you’ll be more and more ready to share the story yourself with your life and your words.
After all, you know someone who needs to hear, and God’s given you the story to tell.
So tell it. And come on out to Abiding Grace this Sunday to hear more about people that are telling the story for us as well.
Worship is at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. with a mission presentation at 9:15 a.m.
See you there!
Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Worship every Sunday is at 10:30 a.m. Full sermons and more information can be found at abidinggrace.com.