In the summer of 1997, I was hired by Westminster Presbyterian Church in Belleville Illinois to run a summer outreach program to the apartment complex adjacent to the church property. Many of the folks in our part of Belleville were from big extended families that had migrated from the south. They had thick southern accents.
One day, a mom had walked her son at the church and we could see that her eye was swollen, almost shut. Can we help you? “Some-um my eye,” she said. Okay, okay. I walked with her into the church and got the first aid kit out. We had eye wash cups. I gave her one and stayed to help her use it. Her eye was still swollen, but better. Before she left, though, she stopped.
“Ha yu be say,” she said. What?
“Ha yuuuu beee say,” she said a little louder. I’m sorry, ma’am. What did you say?
She’s looking at me like I’m an idiot at this point. Finally, “Haw you (I got that word) say-ved.”
“Have I been saved?” I said. “Yah!” she exclaimed. “Yes,” I replied, much to her relief. “I’ve been saved.” And we exchanged goodbyes, and she left.
I remember thinking it was such a strange question. I mean, after all, I was working at a church. Why would she ask someone at a church if they’d been saved? But, it’s also just a really strange question for me, because that’s not how I speak about my relationship with Jesus.
Ask me, “Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior?” I can say yes without reservation. “Do you put your trust in Jesus?” Yes. “Do I believe He is the Son of God, died and risen for all humankind?” Yes.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” Jesus commanded his followers (Matthew 28:19), so we are called to find our own way to speak of who Jesus is and what He has done for us.
A good place to find the right words is in scripture. Jesus is Son of God, Savior, Lord, and Messiah. Some dear people find their words for Jesus in hymns and praise songs. How great Thou art, my Savior God to Thee. Christ is alone is Cornerstone.
However and wherever we find the words, I encourage us to find them. As recipients of the grace and great benefit of trust in Jesus Christ, why would we not want to share it with our family, friends, neighbors, and anyone sorely in need of the confidence and courage that comes with faith?