“Then they said to the king, 'Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day'.”
Four months ago, June of this year,
Warren Buffet, the world's second-richest man at the time, announced
that he would donate 85 percent of his $44 billion fortune to five
charitable foundations. Commenting on this extreme level of
generosity, Buffet said: "There is more than one way to get to
heaven, but this is a great way." So, are we ready to be honest?
What if Warren had decided that your church was going to be one of
the 5, are we still ready to be honest? Are we ready to tell the
truth? Are we ready to tell this man that while the gift is amazing,
there is not “more than one way to get to heaven”? Tough question,
or is it? What happens when just going along with the status quo is
easier than telling the truth? What happens when there are costs
associated with telling the truth? Sure, telling the truth is easy
when it’s beneficial, but when it creates conflict or trouble is
when we are faced with the greatest challenges.
Hear the Good News, telling the Truth, while not always the most pleasant thing to do, does make a difference. When Daniel was faced with the opportunity to save his skin by lying about praying to God, he chose the truth. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were faced with the question of telling the truth or not, they too remained faithful.
Truth is something we need in our lives. The truth we need is the truth of Christ, the truth of the Good News. But what happens when the truth is hard or the truth is difficult to say, to hear? To live and to share the Gospel is not just about telling the truth, but it is telling the truth in love. To tell the truth in love means to tell it with concern not only for the truth itself, but also for the people it is being told to. This means we ask who they are, what is going on inside of their minds, in their lives. To tell the truth means we are concerned with what’s making them strain their faces as they hear the truth. It means understanding why you strain so to tell it.
The truth is always here, it is always there. Sometimes it is hard to find, to see or hear. It can even be harder to say or do. The Good News, the truth of God revealed through Jesus Christ, is before us, we too must find it. Because, before we can share it, we must know it. We know, if we are honest, there is always a cost to obeying God. There is a cost because the Gospel is counter cultural and because we are asked to step outside of our human tendencies to embody the message of Christ. When we do this we should know that if we stand up for God, there will be a price to pay. But we should also know the blessings are always far greater than the cost could ever be.
With all of the challenges in life, we need people who will tell the truth. You know that the truth is not always easy, but we need the truth to make a difference in the world. We need the Gospel to not only be told, but lived, shared. You and I are the closest some will ever come to experiencing the Gospel. Are you ready, are you willing? What will it look like? What will it sound like? Will you be prepared to visit with Warren Buffet and share the truth in Love? My Christ didn’t go to the cross for me to share something else, yours didn’t either. Tell the truth.
Gracious God, thank You for The Truth, the gift of Christ. I understand that the truth will not always be the easiest thing said or heard, yet give me the conviction to both share it and hear it in every aspect of my life. Help me to live out the truth in everything I do. And finally, thank You for all You have done and all You continue to do. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Grace & PeaceRev. David Banks
First United Methodist Church of Onalaska
PO Box 596
Onalaska, TX 77360