Ephesians 6:15 – As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. (NRSV)
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. (NLT)
Wednesday evening I met with my small group Bible study for men at WFPC; Ray, John, Paul, George, (Yes, that’s right, I just now noticed that John, Paul, and George sat in that order; now I’m wondering about Ringo…) Robert, Wayne, David, and me. Just the eight of us and we talked about peace.
Actually, peace, gospel, and the idea of readiness. Wear the good news of Jesus like shoes, so that we are equipped and ready to do shalom, to gift this world with the peace that Jesus also gives to us – not the world’s understanding of peace, but a peace of being, a peace that leads to healing action, that naturally moves into the living out of good news, action that brings the Jesus kind of peace.
One of the guys noted that “gospel” – “good news” – is used as a descriptive term. Gospel is not a “thing,” neatly packaged (with its own drop-down menu), proprietary, one-size-fits-all. Jesus is the good news, and it’s obvious that if it’s not good news then it’s certainly not Jesus.
SHARING THIS GOOD NEWS: We talked about this “readiness” concept. We never know just when and where we are communicating something about faith with people who are paying attention, and we need to make sure that the story we are telling is good news!
So I shared this sad, sad story I remember about a guy I knew who sat on the edge of interest in Jesus. He got involved in my men’s group (in Florida) because we were reading Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy, and he was a huge fan. Then the second week he joined our on-line discussion, and he posted a couple of hard but honest questions about faith. But one of the other men chastised him for his questions, told him it was wrong to doubt, upbraided him, and effectively slammed the door shut on his interest in the good news. I never could reach him again.
The man who rebuked the “seeker” wasn’t wearing shoes equipped to communicate the gospel of peace; fact is, he didn’t have any good news to share. He was more interested in judgement, and all he achieved via his insistent mis-telling of gospel was to push my friend away from the welcoming arms of Jesus.
Jesus wants to fill us with his love, invite us to live in righteousness, and equip is to be his peace. Ready to the extent that, when we say “shalom,” we mean to be an intentional part of what it takes for the world to experience wholeness, real peace, the peace that is beyond our understanding, the peace that offers the good news of Christ’s forgiveness and grace.
Peace – and I mean that – DEREK