I have never been a fan of the oft quoted St. Francis of Assisi adage “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” Aside from the fact that it can promote a works-based theology (which is a blog post for a another day…) I think that it implies that talking about our faith is unnecessary except in the direst of circumstances.
This makes me think of my friends who have young children and are often heard telling them in times where communication is failing, during tantrums or crying spells – “Use your words.” Once this mother knows what is at the root of her child’s problem she can communicate loving words and actions to help that child through a troubling time.
It’s been my experience that women need to hear from other women the ways in which their lives are being transformed by the gospel. That very word gospel – euaggelos in the Greek – carries the idea of preaching, telling, speaking.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I am scheduled to speak to a unique group of women this coming weekend. I only have 20 minutes to share at their chapel service and I want to make the most of it. The message that keeps running through my mind is “Your Word” – give them the Word. I wish I knew how to do that in only 20 minutes!
Ironically I woke up this morning with a reminder from a favorite blogger, author and speaker, Lysa Ter Keurst, that the scholarship process for the She Speaks Conference has begun. I wish the conference were tomorrow because I feel like I could use a little help right now.
This amazing conference helps women who have been gifted to share the gospel through speaking, writing and leading. Through workshops and training they empower women in their calling to step out with the message God has laid on their hearts.
I have been wanting to go to this conference for years, and this year is no different. Well, it might be a little different because now is the time that God seems to be opening more doors for me to speak. I would love to win a scholarship to this conference. Not just because money is tight and I could use the help, but because Feeding His Sheep has been on my heart for so long. (I’m linking my inaugural blog post for those of you who don’t know my story.)
Along with the reminder from Lysa this morning, I also received an email from my dear friend and pastor’s wife with a thought for the day from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest” The topic ~ yup … Feeding Sheep! I don’t know if I’ve ever had a time that God has repeated a message so clearly to me in so many arenas in my life at one time. How I long to spend time with other women who feel so clearly called. Maybe this is the year I get to go to She Speaks!
But lest you think this is ‘All About Me’ I would ask you ladies … where do you feel called to speak or lead? How has God asked you to “preach the good news?” Jesus asked Peter “Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.” Some translations read ‘Tend My sheep.’ In these translations we see the deeper understanding of the word – a sense of total or well-rounded care for the sheep – not just feeding their bellies but pasturing them well. Can you imagine Peter tending the sheep without ever speaking to them? Neither can I.
So let’s go feed some sheep. Speak the gospel ladies, and by all means, use your words!