Friday, May 3, 2013

Sharing the Faith When You're Afraid of Public Speaking

We are called to witness.

Every baptized Christian must go out and share the Gospel message with others.

Yes, even those who are afraid of public speaking are called to give public witness to the joy that comes to all who live in Christ.

Before you dismiss the Great Commission, before you tell yourself that the mandate to give witness to the faith is only for those who like to stand up in public and hold a microphone, you need to know something.

We are all afraid of public speaking.

This morning, I was a lector. As I stepped up to the Ambo, I felt the familiar fear. It always comes. It has a voice. It tells me that I am going to lose my place or trip or get a frog in my throat that won't go away or have a clothing malfunction. I'll sit down in a few minutes and realize that the tag is sticking out of my shirt or I forgot to zip up my pants or my shirt is tucked in on one side and not the other or...

You get the idea.

I am afraid.

Every time I get up to speak, I bow before the Altar and I give it all to Jesus. My weakness. My horrible insecurities. My mind games. What I might do. What they might think. I give it all to Him.

He does wonders with our broken, little gifts.

I hesitated to admit that I have these fears, but then I changed my mind. Here's why:

If there is any chance that you have exempted yourself from sharing the Good News because you
don't feel comfortable speaking up in a crowd or talking about the faith to others, then you need to know that you are exactly like the ones who do it. The only difference is that you don't do it, and they do.

The fear is exactly the same.

You know that parable of the Talents? How the first two guys invested their gifts from God and turned a profit, but the third guy buried his gift (probably because he was afraid of what might happen if he put it out there and messed up the little transaction).

It's okay to be the guy who has the least-- if that is given back to God.

What isn't okay is hiding it because it is so small or so easily lost or so pitiful compared to the gift God has given to another guy.

So be a witness.

Let your knees wobble.

Let your words get all jumbled up.

Fumble for your glasses.

Trip on the first step.

But offer all of it to the Lamb Who Was Slain, the One who comes to us on that very Altar.

We are all a little insecure, but that must never eclipse the message.

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