“And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?”
2 Kings 5:13
If the story is unfamiliar to you let me set the scene. Naaman is a general for the King of Syria and he has leprosy. It comes to the king’s attention that there is a prophet in Israel who could cure leprosy, so he sends Naaman and a small detachment of soldiers to find Elisha. When they do, the prophet doesn’t even come out to meet the great general. He sends out a message that if Naaman goes wash in the Jordan River, he will be healed.
Naaman’s upset because he was disrespected by the prophet, and refuses to consider doing what Elisha said. On his way home, his servants, who proved wiser than him, shared with him the advice in the text. Naaman, probably with a what-can-it-hurt shrug, dips himself in the Jordan and is healed.
The publishing company I work with, like most others, asks authors to send them a synopsis of their book before it is accepted. Now there are a multitude of websites that go into complicated formulas to explain how to do this. There are also agents and publishers who demand the formula. But all anybody really wants is a book report that tells what the book is about.
Christians have a great propensity for overcomplicating the gospel. Now, I do not deny the Bible can take you deeper into philosophical, metaphysical, and theological study than anyone could go. However, understanding and sharing Christianity need go no further than personal experience.
For me, one of the greatest arguments for Christianity is found in the simple statement of a blind man healed by Jesus. The rabbinical scholars wanted an explanation of how the man was healed. The man’s answer was that he didn’t know anything except—I was blind, but now I see.
He did not know how, he did know who. Christians need no theological degree beyond their personal testimony to their experience. Experience will always trump theory.
Relating your personal experience requires a certain overcoming of fear. The fear is misplaced, but it is real. If you feel fearful, that’s good—overcoming it with your story is even better. You need not do some great thing to please God. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness. Belief and a simple statement of it is enough for God.
It’s usually those with no part in Christianity that wish to debate theology and proper Christian behavior. They have no fear delving into subjects they don’t understand and generally resort to scorn when they find themselves in over their heads.
Socrates thought he was a pretty intelligent guy, and most people would agree. The reason for his thinking was that he was the only guy around who knew that he knew nothing. When it comes to your Christian faith, don’t be afraid to be like Socrates. And remember the old saying, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Heaven and Earth will pass away, but Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.