If you have not been keeping up with the weather in Oklahoma, it has been cold, icy, snowy, and generally yucky. Don’t misunderstand me. I love winter. I am a “well insulated” individual so the cold weather is great for me. Winter also means basketball – my absolute favorite sport. This winter also means the Winter Olympics. That being said, know that I am hoping tomorrow that crazy ground hog in Pennsylvania reveals that winter is about over. We have seen more winter weather in Oklahoma this season than I can ever remember while I was growing up here. I am sure that we had storms like this while I lived here, but maybe I repressed those memories. Anyhow, during this insane season I have made an important discovery – ice melt. Yes, I know that it has been around for years but I have never really had a reason to use it before now. I had used salt, fertilizer, and even kitty litter to make walkways less slick in ice. Until this year, I had never encountered the power of ice melt. I am a relatively intelligent person (stop laughing) and I have no idea exactly how this stuff works. I don’t know the chemical equation. I don’t know why it works, but what I do know is that when I spread this stuff on the sheets of ice surrounding the church it immediately begins to melt the ice upon which it falls.
I was thinking yesterday about how life would be different if we spread ice melt the way we spread the gospel. Hang with me here. What if city road crews refused to spread ice melt on our streets until they understood how the ice melt was formed and until they understood the details of the chemical reaction that occurred when the ice melt came into contact with the ice? What if we discouraged everyday people like you and me from using ice melt until they had been through a class to teach them how to use it properly? What if we lived if fear of using ice melt because after all some people do like ice? What if we lived in a society in which the use of ice melt was socially taboo unless of course you were a trained professional ice melt spreader? What if we refused to spread ice melt simply because we believed that the ice would eventually melt over time?
The reality is that these questions are all ludicrous. My two year old son can spread ice melt. None of us really care about the details about how it works, we simply know that if you have ice and want to get rid of it that these little pellets will help it melt faster. Yet, despite the ludicrous nature of these questions, we treat the gospel in much the same way as these questions treat ice melt. We refuse to share the gospel with our co-workers because we are afraid that they will ask questions for which we will not have answers. We refuse to share the gospel with our children because, after all, that is what we pay our church staff to do. We refuse to share the gospel with our neighbors because we believe that somehow our incredibly godly personal life will miraculously draw them to Jesus without our ever having to say a word. But I wonder, what would happen if we spread the gospel with the same abandon that we spread ice melt? What would happen if we were just as convinced about the gospel’s ability to change lives as we are about the ability of ice melt to melt ice? What if we truly believed that the gospel can draw people to faith in Jesus Christ? What if you truly believed that God could do it through you? Would it change your actions? Would it change your heart? You see, if you are a Christ-follower then God has placed inside of you the testimony about how you began your relationship with Him and story about what He is doing in your life now. That very testimony is what the world is dying to hear. That very testimony will melt a hard, cold heart faster than any ice melt will melt ice. That is the reason that God has placed you where you are. The question is, will you spread your story or hide it away in a closet?