Thursday, April 14, 2011

It Really Has Little To Do With Eloquence

"When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power."  1 Corinthians 2:1-5

I love the refreshment beautiful writing and speaking lavishes on an audience.  As I listen to a gifted speaker or read the words of one who has been given the gift of eloquence, I am blessed.  Splashed with encouragement and the comfort of lovely linguistics, I could sit all day and bask in the treasure of eloquent words.      

I have dear friends who have been given from God generous portions of eloquence and the ability to string words together like pearls.  Words aptly spoken like apples of gold in settings of silver come naturally to them.  (Proverbs 25:11)  I admire them and rejoice with them in their God-given gifts of writing and speaking.   Even words of conviction are easy to receive and digest from these gifted friends.  Their blog writings are inspired.  Even their comments sound like poetry.  Greeting card companies could benefit from their gift of eloquence.

Yet, most of us have not received the gift of eloquence.  We fumble through our words, possessing an abbreviated lexicon, or not even knowing what a lexicon is.  Having our foot in our mouth is an unwelcomed past-time and the desire to express ourselves more clearly seems to elude us.

There's good news for us!!  Sharing our testimony about God does not require us to have eloquence or superior wisdom!!  It is simple.  In the passage above, Paul said he resolved to know nothing, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  As a matter of fact, he went with the Gospel message in weakness, fear and trembling.  (I never realized Paul and I had so much in common.)  Here's the best part:  Paul's words were not wise and persuasive, they were perfectly a demonstration of the Spirit's power, "so that your faith may not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power"!  God's power.  God's glory.

And here's more good news!  The Gospel itself is the power of God for salvation!  "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes."   Romans 1:16

God's power.  Through His power, we can be His vessels to share the most important message of life.  We simply share God's testimony in our own lives and proclaim His Gospel (Christ, the spotless lamb, died on the cross as the payment for our sins, He was buried, He was resurrected on the third day).  As we prayerfully share the Gospel message and God's testimony in our lives, He is faithful to bring forth fruit and new life.

I love the account of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4.  Jesus chose to travel through Samaria, though it wasn't the most direct route to His destination.  However, His way point was a life-changing encounter with this precious woman.  Through their conversation, Jesus revealed Himself to her, and she instantaneously dropped everything and ran back to her town to tell them her testimony of meeting the Messiah.  I imagine she did not carefully plan her words.  I imagine her barely able to catch her breath after running back to town.  I imagine her pointing back toward the well and piecing her words together while still in awe.  She simply shared from a heart overflowing with amazement and love.  And there between her gasps for breath was new life as she shared her personal testimony of God:   "Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony..."  John 4:39

Paul's words in the opening chapter of 1 Corinthians 2 encourage me.  While I'd love to think that my written and spoken words were always filled with eloquence, wisdom and persuasive speech, they are usually not.  And they don't have to be.  As we share the Gospel and our personal testimony of God's faithfulness in our lives, His power brings new life.  I resolve to know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 

Yes, we are to study and know and treasure God's word.  We are to equip ourselves with His truth.  We are to handle the Word of God accurately, reverently and carefully. "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."  (2 Timothy 2:15)  And yet we can simply share the Gospel message. 

If you are feeling eloquent-less, take heart.  God's power through your obedience will bring new life and will bring Him glory as you simply share the Gospel and His testimony in your life.

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace."
Acts 20:24


Danielle said...

Amen and AMEN! Although, I wish I did have the true gift of writing and speaking so as to bring glory to God... I was still able to be used in the simple form of sharing God's story with a treasured group of Nepali people while on a mission trip. I will cherish those moments of simple words and the earnest hearts that received them!

And I know it doesn't really matter, but girl!! You are an AMAZING writer!

Fields of gold said...

Oh the joy of sharing Jesus! It's infectious when uninhibited, yes?

"I never knew Paul and I had so much in common" sets the table to easily invite others to join us in the feast. What an encouraging thought, that the man who penned through the Spirit a great portion of the NT had worked up nerves and qualms too.

Love your writings and words... and you!