December 3, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Speak Them Forward

Brother-Aaron-236x300Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

For the past several years this passage of scripture has been a buzzword among Southern Baptists. We have used it to articulate our mandate for missions. We equate Jerusalem as our home town, Judea as our state, Samaria as North America, and of course the uttermost part of the world as the whole world. And while I wholeheartedly agree with this, I think that in our zeal to articulate the places for mission opportunities, we miss something very profound that Jesus did in this verse.  Jesus said, “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me …” Note what He did.  He “spoke His disciples forward!”

Remember, at this point, Jesus has just finished pouring three years of His life into the disciples, instructing them, and at best, they failed.  But grab hold of what He did!  In their failure, He spoke them forward.  In essence He was saying to them, “You’re not there now boys.  You haven’t reached your full potential yet.  The only thing you are a witness to right now is your own failure.  Oh, but the day is fast approaching when all that I have put into you is going to take root and start to bear fruit.  Trust me boys.  It won’t be long until you will rise to the occasion and be My witnesses!”

Several years ago there was a movie about a little boy who, at the urging of his teacher, developed and conducted a social experiment where he encouraged people to, “Pay it forward.”  The whole experiment was based upon the Biblical principle in Ecclesiastes 11:1 (KJV) “Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.”  In other words, the good that you do for others from a pure heart will come back to you.

I wonder how many times every day that we pass up opportunities to speak people forward. Proverbs 18:21 (KJV) teaches us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue …” In other words, we can see something that’s half dead and speak full death into it, or we can see something that’s half alive and speak full life into it. Proverbs 25:11 (KJV) says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Speaking people forward isn’t a hard thing to do. However, it is something that we must do intentionally and genuinely. Nobody likes to feel as though they are being patronized. Yet, everybody likes to be around people who lift their spirits.  We don’t know the torment somebody may be facing in life. We don’t know the personal hell they may be walking through at that very moment.

Sometimes our smile or our kind word may be the only smile or kind word they receive all day. The truth is that God may want to show His love into that person’s life and at that moment, Jesus may look and sound a whole lot like you or me. It may be as simple as telling them that they look nice today or thanking them for a job well done. It’s the little things in this life that make the biggest difference.

In Luke 6:31 (KJV) Jesus taught, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” And in Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) the Bible teaches, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…”

There are two great principles to be learned from what Jesus said in Acts 1:8. First, we speak into the lives of others that which we desire and believe them to become.  People tend to do whatever is spoken into their lives.  Therefore, it behooves us to speak people forward.  Secondly, what we speak into the lives of others returns to us.  Therefore, we should speak wisely.

The greatest truths we truths we speak into the lives of others are those we model before them.  This Sunday would be a great Sunday to speak your friends and loved ones forward by attending church with them!

Brother Aaron

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