Yesterday was Good Friday. When I was a kid, I used to always wonder why they called it “Good”. After all, it’s a story about betrayal, pain, and death. Now I understand that what Jesus went through was good for us. It was VERY good for us. His suffering and sacrifice paid the price for our sins and gave us the path to fellowship with God.
Every year around Good Friday, I reflect on His suffering and ask myself where I have failed Him. He did so much for me. Where have I let Him down? This year, that reflection has turned my thoughts and my shame to one glaring failure.
Just a few years after giving my life to Jesus, God called me to serve homeless and poor people. [I hate using the terms “the homeless” or “the poor.” They are people, not labels]. I teach youth how to be the hands, feet and loving arms of Jesus for “the least of these.” Over the last 26+ years I have been humbled by the ways God has used me to transform the lives of others.
There have been successes, both with the youth I have trained and the people they serve. Some of our youth grew up to become missionaries, pastors and social workers. Others have continued their ministries with poor people into adulthood.
Scores of those we have served have also seen their lives transformed. I have witnessed miracles of deliverance from addictions, opportunities for housing, and jobs that seemed to come from out of the blue. It has been an honor to play some part in these transformations. All of that is good. But it is not good enough.
I have failed Jesus in a lot of ways, but as I ponder my shortcomings, one failure stands out above the rest. I blew my chance to share the Good News of Christ with people who desperately need Him; not just once but over and over again.
I take no comfort in the fact that this failure is widespread among American Christians. I feel sick that someone may be eternally separated from God because I failed to say something.
I am convinced that Satan is perfectly happy for me to help homeless and poor people all day long. He is perfectly happy for us Christians to fight culture wars and care for our environment. He loves to see us do those things as long as we don’t tell people about Jesus.
I pray that my failure ends here. I pray that it ends today. Job #1 for every follower of Christ is to preach the Good News and make disciples. I will no longer hide under the cowardly veil of tolerance but will search out divine appointments to share the greatest story the world has known. I know the Gospel is offensive to many, so I will offend.
Jesus sacrificed Himself for a reason. He did not fail us. I ask you to join me in resolving not to fail Him.
God’s grace to you,
Steve Jennings, Executive Director