Read Day #17 in Come With Me Devotional.
“Don’t tell anyone.”
If you read today’s devotional, you might think I messed up.
The title is “Don’t Tell Anyone.”
But the invitation is, “tell your story.”
It’s not a mistake. Instead, it’s an invitation to tell your story. . . without words.
In today’s reading (Luke 5:14), Jesus healed a man with leprosy. Then he asks him not to tell anyone.
Jesus wasn’t asking him to never tell his story, but to simply delay telling it right then. Some believe that Jesus was avoiding a mob scene. If people heard about this healing, they’d drag all their sick loved ones to Jesus, but I don’t see that at all. Jesus never avoided the sick. He never pushed away a hungry crowd. That kind of reaction would be against his character.
Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded for your cleanses, as a testimony to them.” (Luke 5:14)
Instead, he instructed the healed man to:
Go to the priest.
Show them he was whole.
Offer a sacrifice to celebrate his healing.
It’s the last part of his instructions that captures my attention: As a testimony to them.
Can you imagine the reaction of the priests? Leprosy is a cruel disease. It rots your flesh. It disfigures you. As the man holds up his hands, and peels away his cloak to show them his perfect skin, they can’t deny that he is a miracle.
As they stand at a distance and watch the water trickle down his arms, they can’t deny that he has something to celebrate.Words are not the only way to tell our story. #liveit #ComeWithMeDevo http://wp.me/p4jbdw-4pW Click To Tweet
Words are not the only way to tell our story.
There are times that Jesus asks us not to talk, so our story is more effective.
- You’ve told your story to that friend, to that loved one, to that neighbor, but it hasn’t sunk in.
If you’ve told them once, let the Holy Spirit do his work. Wait for the right opportunity to follow up. God loves that person, and your words aren’t wasted, but too many words can dilute your message.
- You are concerned for that loved one, so you keep heaping words on them hoping they’ll eventually see it your way.
You see it as caring. They see it as controlling. It’s not that you can’t speak the truth, but if you speak it and speak it and speak it, it’s nagging.
- You are a work-in-progress. Cleaning up old messes. Letting God do a new work in you. You’re burning to tell your story, but Jesus slows you down.
Let them see every chapter unfold. They aren’t sure they can trust you yet, but they will over time.
- You want to tell your story to everyone you see.
That’s a beautiful thing and sometimes that’s exactly what we do, unless Jesus gently pulls you back. Perhaps he’s protecting you from those who will deny your miracle, or delight in “popping your balloon.” The time will come to tell your story. The people will be there who long for your story. It’s just not now, not when the Holy Spirit is whispering, “Wait.”
The one thing we can trust is that Jesus leads us. He speaks to us. As we follow Jesus, we will tell our story. Sometimes in words. Sometimes as we hold our words back and let his work in us tell the story.
Regardless of how it’s told, we will never know how our story impacted others until eternity. However, listening to Jesus — and obeying what he asks us to do — will make our story even richer.
21 Life Changing Invitations as We Walk with Jesus
Invitation #17: Tell your story, without words.
- Describe a time that someone told you about Jesus, and they didn’t use a single word.
- For the next 24 hours, be aware of your words. Invite the Holy Spirit to show you if your words are helping or hurting your story. Share your experience here, and let’s pray together over that.
Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads is the original book in this series. It’s what Suzie discovered as she walked with Jesus, and how that changes our faith.
“In Come With Me, Suzanne Eller opens her heart to us, wrapping poignant examples from her own life around the biblical stories of the twelve disciples. Each chapter is a compelling invitation to follow Christ in much the same way these men did, putting aside the old and embracing the new. Heartache and hardship are addressed head on, and so are the joy-filled benefits of saying yes. As the author reminds us, ‘Following Jesus isn’t a charmed life; it’s a changed life.'”–Liz Curtis Higgs, bestselling author of Bad Girls of the Bible