Words Can Start A Wildfire

How many a times a day do you hear complaints or gossip? Think back through yesterday and all the conversations you had. How many of the people you spoke with shared a gripe of some kind or talked badly about a mutual acquaintance or colleague? How many gripes did you share? I find myself surrounded by grumbling and gossip on a daily, perhaps hourly, basis. I tend to complain about how people have wronged me or how I have been misunderstood by a colleague. I regularly hear complaints about people’s children or spouses and their unreasonable working conditions. My peers regularly gossip about each other to me. Relationships are also a frequent topic of complaints. They just roll off the tongue and are often out before they have been thoughtfully considered. If something happens early in the day at work, everyone knows about it before lunch time. Gossip and complaints spread like wildfire.

I would like the same to be true of the good words I share. I would like the positive messages I speak to be so easy to share the same way the unkind gossipy ones do. Unfortunately, not many of us have memories of a “wildfire” of positive words spreading across a group of people, times when “everyone” was talking about something good that happened. It is more common for us to keep good news to ourselves. Like the time my son was promoted into a higher level math class in the middle of the school year. I did not tell any of my friends about that. I barely told my parents. Perhaps it feels like boasting or bragging to talk about good things that have happened? Maybe we are afraid that someone will taint the miracles if we share them? Whatever the reason, we tend to readily share horror stories and embarrassing incidents but keep good news to ourselves.

That tendency to keep good news quiet puts the gospel at a distinct disadvantage; the gospel is the best of the good news, right? So if we do not share good news, how would we share the Good News? Jesus said that we should “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). He also said that we should “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus tasked us with sharing the Good News. Let’s be people who use the power of words for good. Let’s share the good news about Jesus as often as we can. With Easter fast approaching, there will be plenty of opportunities in front of us. Let’s seize them and spread a wildfire of the Good News.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace (Acts 20:24, NIV).