It was but a few years ago that Rene, facing the extreme hardships of life, came to trust Jesus as Savior. Her sister cared about her and together they studied The Exchange. Rene was rescued from her sin and forever changed! In 2017 we had the privilege of training Rene in evangelism at Westside Baptist in Eugene, Oregon. She was like a sponge.
The stories began to roll in from Rene. God is using her to lead friends and loved ones to Christ and to disciple believers – the most recent being the day before her city shut down due to the Coronavirus. That day she finished the last lesson of Living the Exchange with a friend who needed to be discipled and she completed lesson 4 of The Exchange with a woman who made that life-changing decision to trust Christ alone. Rene’s words were, “God’s timing is always perfect. This week we are in a city that is shutting down, and I probably wouldn’t have finished the Bible studies if we had put it off.”
We hear frequent stories from several believers like Rene who continually lead people to Christ, and we have to ask ourselves the question: “Why? Is it their skill, their vast Bible knowledge, their upbringing???” Others have more skill, better backgrounds and ample theological training but rarely share the gospel. Luke 7:36-50 holds one of the keys to this question.
Jesus was invited for a meal at the home of Simon, a Pharisee. A sinful woman learned Jesus was at Simon’s home, so she came weeping to Simon’s house. She lovingly washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed His feet with a precious alabaster flask of oil. Simon concludes in his mind that Jesus must not be a prophet because obviously He did not know what kind of woman this was. But though Simon’s words were only thoughts, Jesus knew them and began to tell the story of a creditor who forgave the debts of two people. One owed much and the other only a little. As is Jesus’ custom, He asks Simon this poignant question, “Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon’s answer is spot on, “I suppose the one whom He forgave more.”
Jesus pointedly applies the parable to Simon, “You have judged rightly.” In great detail He describes how lovingly and generously this sinful woman had treated Him in contrast to Simon’s neglect. Simon hadn’t given him water to wash his feet, he withheld the customary kiss, and he did not anoint Jesus feet with oil. Jesus’ conclusion gives one of the answers to why some believers generously share their faith in contrast to believers who rarely give the gospel. It comes down to how we view ourselves. “Her sins which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much.”
Simon was sinful, probably equally so. But he was unaware of his sinful state. Jesus says, “But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Our sins are many, so many that they nailed Jesus to a cruel cross where He exchanged our sinful record for His holy record. The questions is – how do we view ourselves? Are we self-righteous like Simon, unaware of how very sinful we are; or are we humble like the woman in this story, deeply in love with Jesus because we are aware of where we would be had He not rescued us from our sin and its consequences. This awareness must drive us to generously share the gospel, knowing its power to free people from the bondage and eternal consequence of sin and give them freedom! (See 2 Cor. 5:14-21)
Rene Loves Much!