I went to lunch once with a group of about fifteen clergy. We were a loud bunch. Not obnoxious, just happy to be together. So, other patrons heard us laugh and carry on. When our food came, they heard us do something else.
Someone suggested we pray. Of course we should. We’re a bunch of pastors. Most times, one person offers to thank God for the meal and the fellowship. Not this time. Instead, someone said, “Let’s sing ‘Be Present at Our Table, Lord.’”
That’s what we did in the middle of the restaurant. To be honest, I was a little intimidated. People may have heard us before, but they let our noise blend in with everyone else. When we sang, though, all eyes turned to us.
It was an unashamed moment. Now, let me clarify. Being unashamed of the gospel doesn’t mean being bravado. Being unashamed means you’ll live in a way that demonstrates the power of the gospel. For us that day in the restaurant, it was thanking God not just for food, but for a shared fellowship. The unashamed part wasn’t in singing loudly, but in rejoicing that God had brought us all together. The singing was the fruit.
Apostle Paul gave us that great line in scripture: For I am not ashamed of the gospel. That wasn’t a random opening line. Paul is already doing something he’ll continue to do throughout Romans. He’ll show that God has brought all people together in Jesus.
And Paul’s ministry is an unashamed reflection of that work of God. He’ll live and serve as if that is the power of God. That’s why he’ll travel to so many places to share Christ. That’s why he wanted to go to Rome himself.
So, how unashamed of the gospel are we today? What fruit do you use to answer that? How does your church celebrate or inhibit God uniting people in grace? If God is present with us, that means we have to make room for everyone else God brings along, too.