When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Sometimes we forget how lost the world really is. For example, I was listening to the talking heads on the news discussing the death of Barbara Bush. They were talking about her and her family‘s faith. They talked about how her faith helped her face death with dignity, and how the faith of her family helped them deal with her passing.
None of this, in of itself, is unusual. What makes it surprising to me is the way in which they discussed these things. I could tell as I listened to them that they were genuinely surprised and impressed that their faith had such an impact. They spoke about it as if they were discussing a foreign or alien concept that they had no idea could actually work! They said things like, “they believe that she is now going to a place where she will see her daughter again” with an air of incredulousness. They seemed genuinely amazed.
Those of us that spend a lot of time in the church, who have Christian friends and who spend time in study of the Word often forget how ignorant people are when it comes to faith. We may think that the gospel and the basic tenets of Christianity are widely known. After all, the vast majority of people that we see and spend time with are Christians and people we know from church, and they know all the same things that we do. But as people’s reaction to the faith of the Bushes shows, many people have absolutely no idea what faith in Christ means, or how much it can change their lives.
In stating this, I am not making any point about the politics of the Bushes. You are free to like or dislike them! But in seeing the reactions of people to how faith deals with death, I am reminded that what the world really needs is more of the truth about faith in Jesus Christ and the benefits that it brings. And while this may, in one way, bring sadness at the thought of all the people that do not know the freedom from fear and shame and guilt that the gospel brings, in another way it should excite us. It shows that there is still work for us to do, and that there is plenty of opportunity for us to share the love of Christ with people who have no idea how much it will change their life. Bringing that gift to people brings joy both to those who receive it, and those who give it.