Annie and I were best friends before we knew what friendship was. We learned to walk and talk together, wrote and preformed what we were brilliant theatrical productions, complete with costumes, of course, and had countless of sleepovers. In fact, her fifth birthday party was the first time that I ever spent the night away from home without my parents at a friend’s house.
My first game of hot potato was at one of her parties, as well. We used a real hot potato. It was pretty exciting! The first time I ate Spaghetti-Os was in the kitchen of her house (while she got served chocolate ice cream because she had just had her tonsils removed, something that I thought was terribly unjust at the wise old age of 7). And the first time I played Telephone was in her basement.
I’m not sure what the occasion was – a birthday party or playgroup – but someone started off by whispering a sentence in someone else’s ear. We passed the sentence through the group, one by one, and then the individual at the end of the line proclaimed with all the boldness of an elementary school girl the sentence that she thought was most certain she heard. Giggles erupted, and we were, clearly, the cleverest people on the planet.
In my line of work, I have the opportunity to talk about the Bible more than most. It’s something that I sometimes take for granted and to which, at other times, respond in awe. It’s exciting to watch people, especially young middle school students, have saucer-like eyes when sharing the “crazy” things that happened through the very first Christians: Peter’s jail break, someone falling out of a window because he was bored and then coming back to life, and the incredible story of how eternal life is found through Jesus. It’s a story worth passing on. A story that has been passed on for thousands of years.
This story, the greatest story ever told, changed lives in the present and for all eternity. This story was so exciting that Peter and John, who watched Jesus get killed, told authorities when arrested that they couldn’t keep quiet about it: “As for us, we cannot help but speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).
We all love good stories. And when there’s a good one to tell, we are so exited that we naturally don’t want to keep it to ourselves. When I knew my brother was going to propose to his girlfriend with specific instructions not to tell anyone, I was about to burst…and when I got the “go ahead” to share the news, I told everyone I knew. Even strangers were bombarded with my enthusiasm.
We all haves tories like that: the news of a child being born, a promotion that is earned from hard work or an answered prayer. We can’t help but share the news because it’s that good.
The Good News of Jesus isn’t that good. It’s better. A million times better. Those who knew Jesus in person couldn’t help but tell people about him. They breathed Jesus, telling everyone they encountered and even prayed for opportunities to tell with boldness when persecuted for their faith. Guided by the Holy Spirit, God used people to share His story from one person to another. Then to another. And another. And another. Until her we are, 2000+ years later, talking about this exact same story, without any mishaps that one would find in a silly game of Telephone. It’s rather incredible, if you think about it.
But I can’t help but wonder if they didn’t share? What if they kept silent? What if someone two or three people down the line failed to pass it on? What if awkwardness or diluted faith made it seem not worth it? Where the Church be today? Of course, God is big enough to get His message and Truth proclaimed anywhere he wants to, but He chose to use those people. He also chose to use our parents and their parents. He chose to use our friends, our youth workers, our pastors, our neighbors, our friends, our classmates…the people who first introduced us to Jesus.
And He’s still using us today. So pass it on. You never know who two or three or ten or eighty years later will be sitting in a church, reading the same Bible and discovering the same story that changed your life eternally. Literally, eternally. All because you shared the best story ever.