By Gayla Parker, BCM/D WMU Executive Director, Missionary for Missions Education and Customization, Missions Innovator Specialist (WMU, SBC)
In Luke 19 we read about Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem. The vivid pictures in movies come to mind of Jesus riding on the donkey with hundreds of people gathered around singing his praises.
By the time this article is in print, I will have visited those roads in person. I plan on closing my eyes and imagine hearing the shouts, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” It must have been glorious.
As the people shouted, the Pharisees in the crowd became annoyed. So annoyed they finally said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” Today, we may not have annoyed Pharisees in our midst, but there are certainly others all around us who say, “I don’t want to hear about Jesus, keep that stuff to yourself.” “Don’t talk about church at work.” “I want to be your friend but don’t talk to me about Jesus.” We have all heard comments such as these.
In this passage Jesus says to the Pharisees, “I tell you if they (my disciples) keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” God will make Himself known if not through the praises of His people then through the earth He created. In recent history, Jesus’ declaration has been proven to be true.
Just a few years ago, we all watched the results of a tsunami that hit Thailand; a country where Buddhism prevails; a country that had just prior to the tsunami been in the news for the persecution of the Christian church for not following the rules of Buddha. “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” For many months following the tsunami, believers from all over America went to Thailand to help in the midst of the devastation. One of those volunteers was a former missionary to Thailand. He asked a Thai pastor, “Has the trauma of the tsunami hurt your efforts to tell others about God?” The Thai pastor answered, “No! It has helped me. I have been telling my neighbors about the power of God and showing them in the Bible how God is all-powerful. Now I have proof, He showed His power in the tsunami.” “…the stones will cry out.”
Not so many weeks ago, we watched the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti, a country where over half the population practices voodoo. Soon to follow was the earthquake in Chile, where the works of Catholicism prevails. Both earthquakes were of a magnitude that has rarely been seen. “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
As believers, we have the opportunity to shout out His praises everyday in multiple ways. There are the verbal praises that come when we can share our praises of thanks with family and friends. When we tell our testimony. Or when we read a passage of scripture to someone who needs encouragement.
There are the praises that come through our attitudes, actions and reactions. When we react in kindness instead of anger, live with integrity, or work above and beyond the call of duty we are giving praise to God.
We also shout His praises when we serve others. Rather it be on a mission trip, taking food to a neighbor or serving in a clothes closet we sing God’s praises to those we serve.
And then there is our giving. If you are a member of a church that gives to the Cooperative Program then your money is shouting God’s praises around the world every single minute of every single day. It is through the Cooperative Program that our missionaries are able to serve all around the world. While we are sleeping there are missionaries in Asia who are making God’s name known in places where His name cannot even be spoken. In the winter while we are bundled up by the fire there are missionaries serving in the Southern Hemisphere that are outside making God’s name known on the beaches. While we are at work there are missionaries walking the streets of Baltimore and the other mega-cities in the U.S. making the name of Jesus known.
“If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” I don’t know about you, but this is one assignment I would rather not give to the stones. Jesus died for me and I want to be the one to shout it out through my witness, through my service, and through my giving.