He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:7-8 NIV)
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. (James 4:13-17 NIV)
Inspiration can come from anywhere, even in the midst of our frustration, perhaps, especially in the midst of our frustration. A few days before Christmas I was busily shopping, picking up necessities for my mom. As I was checking out, I was hooked by the assortment of impulse items retailers strategically place near the checkout line. I grabbed a bag of candy as a last minute Christmas stocking stuffer. I loaded my mother’s items into the cart, but forgot the lone plastic bag containing my candy and receipt. I walked out the door, and immediately remembered the candy, turned back and went to the checkout line, where I discovered my candy was gone. I checked with the clerk, but no luck. A lady, who was also checking out at the same time I was, sheepishly looked my way and broke the news to me. “Right after you left, another woman was checking out. I saw her open your plastic bag. She saw your candy, but then started putting her things in your bag. I should have said something.”
“I should have said something,” the mantra of a culture that doesn’t want to get involved. Saying something takes us out of our comfort zone. Saying something imposes the risk that someone will say something back that we don’t want to hear. Saying something means we have to stand up and expose our beliefs. Saying something is what Christians are called to do.
The very last thing Jesus did before He ascended back into Heaven was to admonish His followers to say something. “You will be my witnesses,” Christ told His followers. In other words, “You will be My voice.” Jesus told His followers then, and tells His followers now that we are to say something. We are to be the voice for the voiceless, speaking up for injustice, and those Jesus called, “the least of these.” We are to be speakers of the truth in a culture that is drowning in distortion and rejection of the truth, for Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We are to be proclaimers of the Gospel, “Good News,” that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish into eternal darkness, but have eternal life. We are to share our faith in Jesus, in a society that tells us that our Christian faith should be kept to ourselves.
It is so easy to not say something. It is so easy to remain silent. It is so easy not to do the right thing. God’s Word and our experience reveal that our time to say something is limited. The Bible confirms what we already know. We are just a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Anyone, then, who knows the good he should do and doesn’t do it, willfully disobeys God. Perhaps our first resolution for this New Year and new decade should be a commitment to say something, to speak truth and to share the love and hope we have in Jesus Christ. God bless.