Matt Coker | @MatthewSCoker
I used to live inside The Master’s Books & Gifts. It’s a Parable Christian Bookstore.
And as a result of spending so much time and money there, I’ve got a lot of two things. One, I’ve got a whole bunch of Christian music. Two, I’ve got a whole bunch of useless Jesus Junk.
I mean, sure, there’s nothing wrong with owning a Christian T-shirt and wearing it with pride. There’s nothing wrong with sticking a “Jesus Loves You” bumper sticker on your car. There’s even nothing wrong with owning a “Hand of God’ plastic back-scratcher.
The danger comes when we let these things become a replacement for genuinely witnessing to others. Or worse yet, “proof” of our righteousness when our life doesn’t reflect any.
In high school, my car was like the “Jesusmobile.” I had more than a dozen Christian bumper stickers, Christian license plate frame, vanity “BLEVR” plate on the front, Christian pictures stapled to my cars ceiling… I mean, you couldn’t NOT know this car was driven by a Christian.
But in high school and the first couple years of college, those were the times when I was the least like Christ.
I was over compensating for my lack of faith, lack of holiness, and trying to cover up for my abundance of sin and failures.
I didn’t witness to a single person in high school or college. At least, not on purpose.
Not one. In fact, the only times I ever shared my faith was to argue with someone over right and wrong. Never in love. Never out of concern for their soul. Never like Christ.
I let my T-shirts and bumper stickers do the talking for me. And apparently, they did a great job of getting the message out, but a lousy job of making the message clear.
I’ve had quite a few people recall me in high school as the guy who was always shouting about Jesus, despite the fact that I rarely even mentioned his name.
That’s the main issue we have, as Christians. We witness incorrectly.
Bumper stickers and T-shirts have a negative stigma. Even if they are saying good and true things, people look at these and immediately feel upset, because bumper stickers and T-shirts are most often designed to be provocative.
I mean, really. For every “My Dog Digs New Mexico” bumper sticker, there are two dozen “Coexist,” “Nobama,” and “God doesn’t believe in Atheists” stickers out there.
You can’t let your Jesus junk do your witnessing for you. Do you know why Jesus used so many parables, so many stories, when He was teaching? Because people can hear straight facts all day and not ever connect, but stories draw us in.
Stories make the connection. Specifically, your story. Who were you before you came to Christ? Why did you come to Christ? What changed after you came to Christ? These are the things people want to know. It’s the same reason people read restaurant reviews. They don’t want to try something they know nothing about. They need to hear someone else’s experience.
I mean, if someone isn’t willing to risk $30 on a restaurant they’ve never read a review for, why would you expect them to make a decision about their immortal soul based on Christian clichés and out-of-context Bible verses alone?
Many people are only exposed to our Jesus junk and, even if it says nothing offensive, we have all been programmed to take offense of them.
So, please, stop letting your Jesus junk do the talking.