Are you jumping right in the middle of the story?
It’s not at all immediately obvious where I’m headed with this question, and its selection was admittedly driven by the fact that we are currently in the midst of the Christmas season.
Any truly informed person would tell you that Christmas is ultimately about the birth of Jesus, even though society wants to misdirect and make it all about joy, giving, being with the ones you love, and Satan (oops, must have been a typo, I meant to say Santa – or did I?).
So, Christmas is actually all about Jesus, and the most important thing about Jesus is that He is the central focus of the Gospel message. Unfortunately, this can often lead to us “jumping right in the middle of the story.” In a sense, we are offering a solution to a problem many skeptics are not even aware exists! It’s somewhat like talking to someone who knows very little, if anything, about the United States and beginning by saying, “You see, the northern armies, led by General Grant were fighting the southern armies, which were under the command of General Lee.” You might get a response of something like, “Wait a minute! Who were these armies? Where did they come from? Why were they fighting? What started it all?” Even a brief overview of American history at that point would be very helpful in making sense of the event we call the Civil War.
In a similar fashion, when we share Christ with others, we are really “jumping right in the middle of the story” if we’re not careful and thoughtful as to how we approach this crucial subject. We’re telling someone they need to be “saved” when they didn’t even know they were lost. And even if they realize that things in this world are a bit messed up, why should they look to Jesus as the solution?
It would be much better if we could help them understand the big picture, briefly stepping through the history of the world, explaining why things are the way they are and how they got that way. It would certainly be a daunting task to learn all the details of history, but that’s not what I am talking about… just the big picture, from a biblical perspective. I suggest starting by learning the simplest overview and then adding a few details here and there as time goes by. Eventually, you will be much better versed in sharing your faith with others when you personally better understand the big picture narrative.
Within the confines of this brief article, here’s one version of a fairly simple, yet accurate, big picture. (I am purposely keeping this as concise as possible, only adding additional commentary when appropriate.)