Have you ever read the Christmas story when it wasn't Christmas? Perhaps not, but Luke 2:4-20 gives us a great example of what qualifications (if any) are needed to proclaim Jesus to others. If you have ever felt that you needed a degree in theology before you begin a ministry God has called you to, just remember the shepherds who were out in the fields the night of Jesus' birth and what happened to them. If you need a refresher, the story can be found in Luke 2:4-20.
During biblical times, shepherds were despised among the general populace. They were thought of as untrustworthy, illiterate, uncouth, unclean misfits. The religious leaders held them in the same regard as they did prostitutes. They were quite literally the social outcasts of their day. This is what makes their story so amazing.
Angels did not appear to anyone else the night Jesus was born. The angels appeared to despised shepherds, trusting them to spread the news that the Messiah was born. The shepherds knew their position in society, and so did God, which is why their story is so unique. The first thing they did after seeing the angels was to immediately go to Bethlehem to verify if a baby had been born. The second thing they did was to tell everyone they met about the child and how they had heard about him. The third thing they did was to return to the fields to watch their sheep, all while glorifying and praising God for what had happened to them. In other words, they praised and thanked the Lord for the privilege of proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah.
Do you know what that makes them?
The first witnesses/preachers in all of history to proclaim that Jesus was Lord!
Now let's think about this for a moment. Jesus came in the lowliest of manners. His birth was proclaimed by men considered outcasts by society. I personally don't understand the archaic reasoning as to why shepherds were so despised at the time. But they were, and God chose them to be His mouthpiece. The angels did not appear to the learned religious leaders of the day. Just like Jesus' lowly birth, those considered the least important in society were the ones elected to spread the news about his arrival. I don't know about you, but this brings me comfort to know that the great God of heaven chose to use men of little influence to announce His coming.
While God does use those who have been ordained and trained in theology to preach, He can and does use anyone to proclaim His message - if we are willing to take that first step of obedience by declaring Him before others.
Unfortunately, it is the one thing most Christians don't act on because of fear. Fear that they will say something wrong. Fear that people will react negatively, fear of being ridiculed, and doubt that they are not qualified to teach or preach because they do not have diplomas to back up their authority. Did you know that the only disciple with a "real" education was Paul? He was taught by the great Rabbi Gamaliel. All the rest of the Apostles were (to put it bluntly) uneducated people with a message to share. So if you are not sharing your story about Jesus with others because you feel you need to go to school first - think again. God revealed Himself to you in a specific way. He has called you to go and share that story.
So, what are four steps to sharing our faith?
How and when did you first hear about the Lord? We need some uplifting stories today. You never know who might be encouraged by your "faith story." How did you come to know the Lord? Share in the comments below.