in the fullness of time

We have just come through the Christmas season and we all heard the great gospel accounts of Christ’s birth. I wish we had more information about his upbringing. What did he spend his time doing? We know he launched his public ministry around age 30, but why did he wait that long? Wasn’t his mission important enough to have started it 5 or 10 years earlier? Didn’t he realize that there were people who were going to die without the hope he had come to bring?

Sometimes those of us in evangelical circles feel the pressure to rush to “close the deal” with people who don’t know Christ. We often hear things like, “There are people all around us dying and going to hell and we need to get out there and share the gospel with them. Where are we going to scare them off to, hell #2?” Don’t get me wrong. We do need to share the gospel with people. What I am trying to reconcile in my head is that Jesus waited until he was 30 to start his ministry. Not only that, but God saw fit to wait about 4,000 years after the fall of mankind before He sent Jesus. Up until that time, millions upon millions of non-Jewish people died outside of God’s plan of redemption.

If God waited until “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4-5) before sending His son and then Jesus waited until he was 30 to begin his public ministry, don’t you think there is some rationale for building a genuine friendship with people before we share the Gospel with them? After all, the Gospel is WAY bigger than what we have made it. Essentially, we have turned the Gospel into a set of beliefs about God that we try to get someone to buy into by praying a prayer so they don’t have to go to hell. Sounds like fire insurance to me. The Church in North America needs to go back and rediscover what the Gospel is. It is something that is so big and so important that God had to wait for the exact moment to unleash it on this earth “in the fullness of time.”

be ready

As I was wheeling around the yard on my riding lawn mower today, I was chewing on a verse of Scripture that has come to the forefront of my mind of late.

I Peter 3:15b says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have people ask me about the hope that I have very often. When Peter wrote these words, he was making a couple of assumptions:

  • That we are living our lives in such a way that people notice that something is different.
  • That we are living our lives in close enough proximity to outsiders who might notice our lifestyle.

So, if you’re like me and people don’t typically ask you why you have hope and why your life is different, maybe we should check to be sure the two things above are happening in your life.

For me, I can say that I am not living my life in close enough proximity to outsiders for them to notice. Like many Christians, I live my life into a safe, Christian bubble and rarely rub shoulders with “those people.”

Moving forward, my family and I plan to live among “those people” and I will be personally carving time out of my schedule to build relationships with people outside the bubble. It’s hard to taste the salt, when it’s still in the salt shaker!