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The Gospel: Promiscuous Preaching 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

By Wayne Brouwer
When I was in high school we had a "spiritual awakening" on our campus. Students began wearing crosses, and making "Jesus People" artistic designs on the walls. A number of Bible studies sprang up spontaneously almost overnight, and prominent individuals who were "outside" the faith were targeted for conversion.

The whole thing caught the community quite by surprise. I remember going to worship services at church on a Sunday evening and overhearing a group of middle-aged people talking about us. One shook her head and said, "It's really sad, you know, the way these young people act! Blue jeans and T-shirts in church! And those songs they sing! And all those 'one-way' signs!"

The woman next to her said, "It's all so irreverent!" Another chimed in, "Yeah, but the worst is when they take those friends of theirs in here! They don't belong in our church!"

All the while I was getting more and more upset. They just didn't understand what Jesus was doing in our hearts and at our school!

Then an Elder of the church spoke up. He said something that cut me to the heart: "Ah, don't worry about it! They'll get over it! It's just a passing fad!"

Is it? Is it that for you? Do you have a spiritual awakening only to go back to sleep again?

They tell the story of a farmer in Saskatchewan who was a bachelor for many years. Then he felt the need for some domestic help, so he scouted the local town for an eligible young woman, and the two were married. Twenty-five years later they sit across from one another at the breakfast table. She is getting more and more agitated. He is totally oblivious to her frustrations. He hides himself, in his usual way, behind the newspaper. She gets up to pour him another cup of coffee.

"Sven," she says, "I want to ask you something." He doesn't even put down his paper. He just goes, "Hmmmmmm?!"

She says, "Sven, can I talk to you?!" Still behind the paper he replies, "If you've got something to say, woman, just spit it out!"

"Well," she says, "it being our anniversary and all, I was just wondering if you still love me."

Now the newspaper is slammed to the table. "Woman," he shouts, "when we got married 25 years ago I told you that I loved you! If I ever change my mind, you'll be the first to know!"

Nice guy, eh?

Yet the truth of it we all know. It is in the telling that the important things of life are made real. If a man will not speak to his wife of his love, she has every right to question whether it still burns. And sometimes, in our Christian faith, we follow the advice of that church Elder in my hometown: "Just wait; they'll get over it! It will go away over time!"

Good news needs to be told. Yet like that Saskatchewan farmer, our lips can be sealed. When I was pastor in my first congregation I sat in one home where the man said to me, "You're more evangelical than we are." I was stunned for a moment, wondering what he could mean. So I asked him.

"Well," he said, "we like to keep our faith to ourselves."

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