On a visit backstage at a well-known opera house near where we live, the guide invited the group we were with to sing a song together, whilst standing on the actual stage, so that we could say that we had actually sung on stage at this opera house. The song chosen was ‘Row, row, row the boat gently down the stream’ - not exactly high class opera! However, there were over 1200 seats facing us where the audience would normally sit, all empty on this occasion and we sang to the empty auditorium. I could imagine the reaction had the seats been filled – probably shock and horror on the part of both the audience and us singers!
I was reminded of the words of Jesus instructing us to ‘proclaim from the roof’ (NIV) what Jesus tells us, or as the NLT puts it – ‘shout from the rooftops for all to hear’. (Matthew 10:27). This is somewhat daunting for most of us. We may pluck up the courage to join a mission group from our local church, as long as someone else does the speaking, or perhaps we’re good at the one-to-one style of evangelism, but don’t ask us to speak to a crowd! Yet Jesus tells all of us to be roof-top shouters.
I remember, many years ago, standing in front of about two hundred hardened criminals in one of the London prisons and trying to preach to them about Jesus. Most were there as an ‘escape’ from their daily routine in the cells and dozed off, but some listened. It’s certainly challenging to proclaim Jesus in such a public way.
Why does the Lord want us to shout it out? Because He has such a heart for His creation that His desire is for all people to hear the message of salvation and reconciliation through Christ. The response from those who hear will be the first step on the journey of healing and restoration, but, unless the message is proclaimed, people can’t respond.
You may not be an evangelist, maybe you prefer a background ministry, but there may come a time when God puts you on a ‘stage’ and calls you to shout from that place what He has whispered in your ear. Will you turn and run into the wings where you can hide, or will you trust the Lord’s call and do what he asks, no matter how daunting it may seem?
Prayer: Dear Lord and Father, it’s hard to imagine that You want to use us in such prominent ways to further Your Kingdom, but that’s what You tell us to be ready for. Through Your Spirit may we have open ears to hear the whisper of God, and open mouths to shout out to this world the message You give us, so we will see the Kingdom of God moving forward in our world in this age. Amen.
"What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!"
Matthew 10:27, NLT
John Berry has recently stepped down from the full time team at Ellel Glyndley Manor, where he has been involved for almost seven years, before which he pastored UK Baptist churches for 30 years. He continues on the Associate Ministry and Teaching teams at Glyndley Manor, where his wife Jennie continues on team. They have been married for nearly 43 years and have seven grandchildren. John is also an elder in a local church.
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