One phrase jumps out to most as we read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18, “Treasure in jars of clay.” That creates a great image in our minds and reminds many of the award-winning songs by the group Jars of Clay: “Flood, Can’t Erase It, I Need You, Fly, and Valley Song (Sing of Your Mercy).” This is a great direction, but something else caught my attention. Verse 13 says, “Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we also believe, and so we also speak.”
I was challenged how this verse twice says that if you believe, you speak. If you really believe in something, it is hard to stay quiet. When someone misspeaks on something, the teacher in me wants to jump in and correct them. Sometimes I weigh out whether it is important or not and if I have earned the right to speak into their life. However, if it is important, I need to speak. If it is life-threatening, I cannot stay quiet. If it could affect “forever,” how can I stay quiet?
I used to love the quote by Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” I appreciated how he challenged people to walk the talk. I have seen too many people who could talk “Christianese,” but lived a life focused on themselves. However, I have also seen too many people “chicken-out” of talking by saying that they witnessed by their lifestyle. I appreciate a godly lifestyle, but we need to be willing to speak when the opportunity is presented.
Witnessing is not about our walk “or” our talk; it is about our walk “and” our talk. In 1 Peter 3:15, we read, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” Your “holy” life should be married to your words as you “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
When we “walk this way,” people will ask, “Why?” We need to direct them to Jesus!