Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
2 Corinthians 5:6-17
How Much I Know
A leader in my church body said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
It wasn’t a quote original to him, the consensus (at least on Google) attributes it to President Theodore Roosevelt.
Still, I have found it to be true.
Throughout my 23 years of preaching, I have used what I “know” in my sermons. Quotes from the Lutheran Confessions, the writings of Martin Luther and others, and, of course, the Bible itself.
I spent most of the years 1984-1995 learning from these (and numerous more) sources. You could say I “know” them.
But I have found that just putting what I know in a sermon or in a Bible class isn’t all that effective.
I wondered about this and what to do about it until I heard from the leader of my denomination. His admonition to care first was used by God to catch my attention and touch my heart.
How Much I Care
Now I understand why it is so important to talk to people. How important it is to get to know them. I visit people each week. Many times, re-visiting people over and over again.
Not because I have to, but because I want to. I care about them.
Yes, there are others I don’t visit quite as often. Some people I only talk to when I see them in church. This is to my detriment as I don’t get to know them quite as well. But I want to!
Why? Because time is short, and eternity is forever.
How can I convey to them what I have come to know – that God saves us all from our sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?
If I don’t really know a person – and thus, care about them – I cannot be used as effectively by the Holy Spirit to persuade them that God loves them!
I have come to know the fear of the Lord. Not that I’m afraid of God, but that I have a spiritual awe of just how majestic and loving (and powerful) God is.
Knowing that, I try to persuade others to also know this incredible love. Because it isn’t just an objective knowing. It is incredibly subjective.
God loves me so much that Jesus died on the cross to forgive all my sins. God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus to restore my relationship with him.
I know this from the Holy Spirit using the Word of God and other Means of Grace to persuade me of this truth.
And in knowing this, I wan to share it with others. This is too good to keep to myself!
I am God’s child. I know this. Therefore I care about you. I hope you know this as well!
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for the Holy Spirit who uses the Means of Grace so I can know this. Now, by the same Holy Spirit, help to care about others so that can know this as well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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