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Why Distribute Literature?


In the old days, whenever we had someone thinking about becoming a Jesus Christian, there would often be some hesitancy about distributing literature on the streets. Some people would come right out and say that they would be happy to do housework, cooking, bookkeeping, just about anything except distribute literature on the streets. In a way that sounded fair enough. Obviously, distributing literature isn't all that we do, and it certainly is not the only way to share our faith.

However, reticence about distributing literature more often than not seemed to be linked to a deeper problem associated with the real REASON why people objected to such an activity.

They would often argue that distributing literature seemed to be the same as running a business (since we traditionally ask for a donation for the literature), or that it implied perfect agreement between themselves and us about beliefs on which they did not fully support. All of that sounded like reasonable objections.

However, the crunch would come whenever we would offer them freedom to either choose what literature to distribute, or to write their own; or when we would offer them the freedom to give the literature away for free. That's when it usually became clear that their problem was neither with the message nor the motive, but rather with the whole idea of putting themselves out there on the line and stating publicly what they believe. It's so much easier to stay anonymous back home in the kitchen, and to never really commit to anything.

Jesus instructed his followers to "preach the gospel". What does that mean? And how does the whole idea of preaching anything come across in today's world? Salesmen are pretty much ridiculed by everyone, but especially if what they are selling is some kind of a religious message. It has become popular to say that there is no truth, there is no gospel, there is no message, i.e. that everyone should just do their own thing and not feel pressured by anyone claiming to have the truth. And, indeed, there are a lot of religious con men spruiking everything from weeping statues to get-rich-quick doctrines. But the counterfeits should not stop those of us with the genuine Article from telling the world Who has the answer.

Tthe way Jesus lived, and the way that he expected his followers to act was a way of boldly declaring the Truth. He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, the Life." Pretty arrogant stuff in this New Age of ours. And he said that he would be ashamed of any one of us who is ashamed of his teachings. Yes, there are many different ways to preach (through our actions and lifestyle for example), and it's vitally important that those actions and lifestyles be consistent with our theory; but sooner or later we need to offer the theory, and acknowledge our Source. It may be standing on a street corner and shouting out our message, or it may be handing people the same message in writing. But it still involves putting ourselves (and our pride) on the line.

Salesmen still get out there and strut their stuff for everything under the sun. But if we who have found the Answer in Jesus are ashamed to proclaim our position, then we more or less lose by default. We don't have to be arrogant or pushy, but just being confident and committed is still going to offend, and we may as well accept that. Are we prepared to smash our pride and overcome our laziness to take a stand for what we believe?

As the saying goes, "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."

 


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