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I love the story about the homesick son who wanted to buy his mom the perfect gift. He searched through every store but nothing struck a chord until he walked into a pet shop and found a parrot that spoke five languages. He immediately paid big bucks for the bird and shipped it home to his mother. A few days later he called and asked her how she liked the parrot. His mom responded, “It was delicious.”
The son was sad that his mom had eaten a bird that spoke all those languages. Her response: “Well, why didn’t it say something?”
I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon among many Christians in modern America. They, like the fictional parrot, aren’t using the wonderful gift of language, at least not when it comes to telling others about Jesus.
That’s so very different from the men and women of the early church. The Book of Acts tells us about two of the first preachers, Peter and John, boldly witnessing to the people of their day. They made no apologies. They stood before sometimes hostile crowds to proclaim the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The anti-Jesus crowd threatened Peter and John to try to make them stop. Their response: “We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard.”
It mattered not to the people of the early church that the Gospel was unpopular. It mattered not that some among them were beaten, jailed and killed simply for sharing the Good News. They felt compelled to tell the world, and they did just that.
Christians in the U.S. face no such consequences, at least not yet. But even so, far too many are largely silent about Jesus despite his great commission that says “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
Like that fictional parrot, Christians need to break their silence. So speak up, because, as the song writer says, “we’ve a story to tell to the nations.”
Roger Alford, a former news correspondent, is pastor of Long Ridge Baptist Church in Owenton and communications director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.