People ask me, "what's the best way to share God's Word?" For me, it's outdoor adventures. The outdoors provide all kinds of settings for you to start building relationships with the person you're hiking with or riding alongside. If you spend a minimum of 24 hours with a person you're guaranteed to share experiences that will give you the opportunity to share His Word. I always say, "when a person is suffering is when you have their attention!" Honestly, you're in the outdoors, their "suffering," and you're the only person around for miles. Who else are they going to lean on or listen to in time of need?
Obviously, you don't want that person to suffer too much, and you'll know when the right time presents itself for you to speak to that person concerning God's Word. Jesus did the same with his disciples. He walked alongside them, traveled with them, set up camp with them, broke down camp with them, and shared meals with them. His ministry, on earth, is a great example for us to replicate the best way to share God's Word.
So, how did Jesus reveal the secrets of the kingdom of heaven to people? What was his best way to share God's glorious unconditional love them? Much like the outdoors provide experience for us to use to share of God's word, Jesus provided us with a great method - parables or "a casting alongside" to compare one thing with another to communicate truth. Why did Jesus use parables?
10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you, it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15 For this people's heart has grown dull,
and with their ears, they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Jesus used parables to help reveal "the secrets of the kingdom of heaven," truths hidden from those who had no commitment. Verse 13 says, "This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand." His objective was not to make it obscure, but to make His truth plain.
This is where outdoor ministries come into play. Some of the best times spent sharing His Word are the trials we face on the trail. If a brother is in need, we share our resources, if they can't pedal or walk another mile, we rest together, or if they can't keep the same pace as the entire group, we slow down to ride or hike alongside them. Through this, we're able to begin building a relationship, share stories, and talk about how God is using us to further His kingdom.
For further study on parables look up:
- The parable of the Sower - Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23
- The lamp on a lampstand - Mark 4:21-25
- The parable of the wheat and the weeds - Matthew 13:24-30
- The parable of the mustard seed and yeast - Matthew 13:31-35
- The parable of wheat and weeds explained - Matthew 13:36-43
- The parable of hidden treasure - Matthew 13:44
- The parable of the priceless pearl - Matthew 13:45-46
- The parable of the net - Matthew 13:47-51
- The parable of the landowner - Matthew 13:52
Look around you... God will provide all the necessary tools for you to reveal "the secret of the kingdom of heaven" you speak with. If you find yourself frustrated that someone isn't understanding remember Verse 13 - ", because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand." Unless they commit to searching for Christ, we can't expect them to understand a life lived for God. Ask them if they are ready to commit. You'll know when this opportunity presents itself and remember to do it in kindness and unconditional love. The same way Christ did for us!
Thanks and God Bless!