07.01.13 "Sharing the Hope Within"

Lord, send your Spirit to guide and direct out thoughts as we meditate on your word today. 1 Peter 3:15-17 (NIV)

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. 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, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

Whenever I read this passage I think about Henry Muster a committed Christ follower I knew in Springfield, Illinois. He told me once about one of his neighbors who drove a truck for a large delivery company.  He noticed that on several occasions, when the price of gas was a bit steep, the neighbor would drive the truck home and siphon gas from the truck into his family car.  Henry prayed about what to do and believed that God told him to call the company rather than confront the neighbor.  He did.  The company followed the man and discovered that in addition to his own car, he was siphoning gas into the cars of a number of his friends.  He was caught and arrested in a neighborhood far from where he and Henry lived. The man never knew it was Henry who made the call.

I told Henry he was very brave to phone the company. The neighbor knew Henry was a Christian and if the neighbor had been only filling his car, it would be fairly obvious who had made the call.  The repercussions for Henry could have been devastating. Henry said that as a Christian he was compelled to make the call and trusted that Jesus would protect him from harm and danger.  He said if there were repercussions, it would be a privilege to suffer for the name of Jesus.

I found this conversation with Henry very faith building.  Here was a man who had complete trust that if he did what Jesus demanded of him, Jesus would take care of the rest.  That was the hope in which Henry lived.  In his heart he revered Christ as Lord and was compelled to live out his life in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

From Henry I learned two lessons.  The first was that God looks after those who are obedient to His desires.  The second was how easy it is to share a testimony about the faithfulness of God with someone who, I am sorry to say, was more concerned about staying out of trouble than doing God’s bidding.  Living out our lives as Henry did, all of us will have some wonderful opportunities to share the hope that is within us.  When someone comments on our praiseworthy behavior today, I pray we will take a moment to tell him or her about the Jesus we know.

Lord, guide us by Your Spirit today and give us an opportunity to share the hope that you have placed in our hearts. Amen