Imagine that someone sitting next to you in a restaurant began choking on her dinner. What would you do first? What would be the most important course of action?
- Tell her she should take smaller bites and chew her food more thoroughly.
- Show her how to perform a Heimlich maneuver on herself.
- Try to find someone else in the restaurant to help her.
- Immediately perform the Heimlich and save her life.
I think most of us would agree that the last option is the best. (Of course if we have no clue how to perform the Heimlich, then the third option could also save her life.)
When you encounter people who are spiritually dying what do you do first? What is the most important thing to tell them?
One of my favorite Scripture passages is 1 Corinthians 15. In the first 8 verses, the apostle Paul succinctly shares the heart of our faith – the Gospel – and tells us why this news is “of first importance.”
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, NIV
The Greek word translated as “of first importance” in verse 5 means “chief, principal, first in rank or quality.” There is no news, no information, no message more important than the glorious truth that Jesus died for our sins and then conquered death to give us eternal hope. Yet, we often hesitate to share this message.
What do you tend to tell others first about your faith in Christ?
How much importance do you put on sharing the Gospel message with others?