“Why?” It’s a favorite question of children. “Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs bark? Why do I have to go to bed now? Why do I need to eat vegetables?” But “why” should also be a favorite question for adults. When children ask “why”, they are usually looking for more information. This can be true for adults as well, but often with adults asking “why” reveals the reasoning and motivation for doing something. Why should I join the gym? Why am I responding to this email right now? Why don’t I have that conversation with …?
The why is as important, if not more important than the what. In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6, Paul recounts his sharing the Gospel in Thessalonica. Before arriving there, Paul and Silas had declared the truth of Jesus in Philippi (Acts 16) to Lydia, a businesswoman, to a slave girl who had a spirit of divination, and to a jailer. Although there was many conflicts in Philippi – Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison – they were not quiet about the Gospel. Why?
Because they had been “approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel”, and they shared the Gospel in order “to please God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4) Paul and Silas were not trying to become rich through sharing truth, and they were not trying to make a name for themselves. They did not seek the attention or favor of the people in Thessalonica or anywhere else. They were not looking for fame, fortune, or friendships. Instead, their sole motive in sharing the Gospel was to please God.
That is why they could boldly proclaim the Gospel in Thessalonica after suffering much in Philippi. And after being persecuted in Thessalonica, they moved on to Berea, where they continued to teach about Jesus. Suffering and hardship did not cause them to doubt whether they should share the gospel. It did not break them. On the contrary, their suffering developed a bolder witness. As long as they knew it pleased God for them to speak truth, it didn’t matter what happened to them.
The “why” of pleasing God far outweighed anything else. In Galatians 1:10 Paul says, “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” The approval of man meant nothing to Paul. In Philippians he calls such things rubbish. His desire was to know Christ more and more and to speak the Word with which he had been entrusted. And if suffering came as a result of this, oh well.
As a servant of Jesus, Paul realized that when he obeyed His commands, it pleased Jesus. Paul’s sharing the gospel was not about himself, but about Jesus. He could share in the face of threats. He could share where he was well received. He could share in front of important political people or with commoners. He could share with Jews. He could share with Gentiles. Wherever and with whomever, because it pleased God for him to tell people that they were sinful and deserving of God’s wrath, but Jesus, the perfect spotless lamb, had been sacrificed in their place.
It pleases God when we share the Gospel, too. So, instead of thinking about what might happen if you share or how someone may respond, know that God wants you to speak, and He is pleased when you do. May the pleasure of God be our motivating factor for proclaiming the Gospel and allowing God to accomplish His purposes through us. May God embolden us to share His truth passionately and frequently. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” May the Gospel be what we think about and what comes out of our mouths.
Share the Gospel! Not because God will be pleased with you, but because it pleases Him.