As published on Christian Today Australia 21st December 2018 – https://christiantoday.com.au/news/goats-roses-social-media-and-the-gospel.html
Seven was the number of white rose standards planted down my driveway before I went to sleep.
Three is number of rose standards left with roses on them after our pet goat escaped in the middle of the night to devour them.
A goat having a midnight feast on my roses was not what I expected to see when I happened to peek out of the window after waking at midnight.
While I was thankful that I saw him when I did, I’m not sure my husband was completely thankful at having to chase a goat in the middle of the night, followed by me running up the driveway in my pyjamas, ready to corner the goat if he escaped while my husband fixed the fence.
It was sad to wake bleary-eyed in the morning to see the missing white roses that had beautifully framed that part of our garden. As my eyes drifted from the missing roses to the fenced area of our animals, I noticed the goat was still sleeping with a full belly and looking very satisfied. He had no appreciation for those beautiful roses except for filling his tummy.
While I considered what goat curry might taste like, I thought about what a thing of beauty those roses had been to our visitors and to us over the past weeks, and how the fragrance and beauty of these roses would no longer be appreciated as they were no longer visible for the senses to enjoy (that is until the next ones grow).
Using the gifts we have been given
God gives each of us wonderful gifts. Even if we don’t realise it, we have been given gifts for the enjoyment and service of others.
1 Peter chapter 4 verse 10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (ESV)
Though we may all have been given gifts, not all of us use them. Whether it be from fear, shyness, doubt, laziness or whatever, there are all sorts of reasons we talk ourselves out of not being as effective as what we perhaps should be and therefore, our gifts may as well be sitting in the belly of a goat.
I was recently personally challenged on this. I was struggling with going more public on social media. I felt that it was too brash and didn’t want to appear prideful or to be promoting myself. I was comfortable with my limited online presence and also liked the amount of anonymity I had in choosing what I wanted to share and when I wanted to share it.
Then God challenged me.
Throughout the course of a few weeks, God showed me that if we are to reach the world with His good news of salvation, we need to use whatever platform He has made available to us and share it. He showed me that I was not being humble by wanting to shrink into the shadows, but rather—I was being selfish.
Did I just say selfish? Yes! I was being selfish because the message God wanted me to share was about Him—and if I didn’t do what I felt God was compelling me to do, I was actually being disobedient. It was time to step out of my comfort zone and trust God with the next steps.
‘It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.”’ (2 Corinthians chapter 4 verses 13-14)
When we hide things
Matthew chapter 25 verses 14 to 30 tells us a story about a property owner who was going on a journey and entrusted his property to his servants while he was gone.“To one he gave five talents, another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away” (verse 15).
While he was gone, each invested their talents in different ways gaining good returns on their investments and were generously rewarded—except for the servant who received one talent. He buried his talent in the ground where it did not even make interest, and so his one talent was taken away from him and he was cast into the darkness.
Sometimes fear and doubt get in the way of the wonderful things God has for both the giver and the receiver, giving the enemy a foothold over our lives—and there is no happy ending in that.
John chapter 10 verse 10 says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
The abundant life God has for us is free from fear and doubt. We are not to be lazy with our gifts but instead we are compelled to use them, to be bold and to be joyful with it.
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans chapter 12 verse 11)
A pleasant fragrance
Just as the fragrance of my beautiful roses had been enjoyed by those who saw them, we too are like a fragrance, spreading to those who hear it as we carry the message of Christ’s forgiveness to the ends of the earth.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other an aroma that brings life.” 2 Corinthians chapter 2 verses 14-16
Let’s not be shy in using our gifts to promote the Good News. Allow your fragrance to spread far and wide—and not end up in the belly of a goat.
©Rebecca Moore 2018