I was shocked this past weekend by the comment of another Baptist minister. I was preparing for a funeral when he said something that really surprised me. He said that he was always careful when he preached at a funeral or memorial service because he didn’t want to offend anybody by sharing the gospel. He preferred to try to bring it in the “back door.”
While I can understand wanting to share the gospel in an understanding and compassionate way, what better place is there to share than at a funeral? I mean, really — for this service people were coming not only to a Christian service but a Baptist service, and we were memorializing a Baptist pastor’s son! Surely we weren’t sneaking the gospel in!
I’ll admit that it was a bit disconcerting to have a couple in the audience laugh and poke one another whenever I mentioned Jesus Christ, but that’s the world we live in. We’re called to faithfully proclaim the message and to not be ashamed regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. We’re also told that the gospel message will be a stumbling block and an offense. Notice that we aren’t supposed to be offensive, but the gospel message by it’s very nature will make people uncomfortable and hostile. And we should understand that. The gospel talks about sin and punishment. It says that Jesus is the only way. It really is offensive.
But none of that means we should keep our mouths shut. We are called to faithfully proclaim the message, and leave the rest up to God. Does it mean that some people won’t like us, and may persecute us? Sure. But if we really care about following God, and we really care about other people, then we’ll be willing to tell them the most important thing in the world — that Jesus died for them.