Thursday, March 15, 2012

Duck Evangelism, Introduction


Once upon a time there was a duck who made her home amongst various shallow and dirty puddles.  Puddles which were often frequented by ducks looking for a place to take a quick dabble, but at the same time not risk any deep water or committed partnerships.  They were happy to wade to the height of their ankles, sprinkle their feathers with a bit of water, and meet up with other ducks who made them feel good about themselves and the choices they were making in their lives.  For a long time the duck was happy to live this way, but over time she found the puddle lifestyle was not giving her fulfillment.  She started to become restless and feel like there had to be more to life than what she was experiencing.

Then, one day, this duck felt an unusual beckoning to leave the puddles she had dabbled in for so long.  Her journey led her up a steep hill, which in the past had been an obstacle, yet that particular day her longing for a greater purpose in her life compelled her to keep climbing. 

When the duck reached the top of the hill, she was surprised to find on the other side an extraordinarily large and beautiful pond.  This pond was not only beautiful in itself, but it was also filled with ducks who seemed to be experiencing everything she had been desiring in her own life, but could not achieve amongst the inferior puddles.  These pond ducks radiated joy, peace, patience, love, and so much more.  Suddenly in her duck heart she knew she had to live in this place and leave her puddle lifestyle behind.  She proceeded down the embankment toward the pond and started up a conversation with one of the ducks who had moved to the edge of the pond to talk with her. 

This pond duck explained to her how she could establish her residence in the pond through the Big Daddy duck, who had created the pond and who also desired for other ducks to come and live in it and enjoy the wonders it held.  The pond duck also explained that no matter what dirt any previous puddle dwelling duck were to bring into the pond, that the pond was more than able to wash it all way.  She could start her new life in the pond without being hindered by the marks of her past, she just needed to trust in what she had been told and make her way into the pond.

So the puddle duck came to live in the pond and she was overjoyed and enthusiastic about learning as much as she could about the pond and all it had to offer.  And also out of her great appreciation to the Big Daddy duck and all He had given her, she desired more than anything to learn her pond dwelling lessons to the best of her abilities. She too wanted to be one of those pond ducks who radiated the same qualities those other pond duck she had originally seen when she was attracted to this place she now called home.  But yet, there were times when this new pond duck would start to feel very sad.  Her sad times seemed to come most when she would realize there were still so many ducks living in the puddles on the other side of the hill who had no idea about the pond and her loving Big Daddy duck.

She so greatly desired for her previous acquaintances to come to the pond to receive the wonderful gift the Big Daddy duck was willing to offer each of them, that she would leave the pond in the attempt to convince them to follow her back to the pond.  Yet every time she made her way out of the pond and went back to the puddles she used to frequent, she would end up stuck in the puddle and the puddle lifestyle again herself.  And not only stuck, but also completely ineffective in getting any other duck to follow her to the pond on the other side of the hill.

Finally, at the end of her rope, she would have to yell out for the Big Daddy duck to save her from the puddle so she could again return to the pond.  What was she to do?  She wanted to draw other ducks to the pond and share with them the wonderful life she experienced in the pond.   She wanted to show the puddle dwelling ducks the greater significance their webbed feet held, how they had the ability to dive deep, and develop meaningful relationships, yet no matter how hard she tried she always failed in getting any other duck to follow her.  She just came across as a crazy, wild, flapping duck.

Often times as Christians we can also feel like this duck.  We have come to a place where we experience the love of Christ and the wonderful gifts that come from living in His will and fellowshipping with other believers, yet at the same time we find ourselves completely ineffective in bringing others towards Christ and into a relationship with Him.

For the next few days or weeks (we will see how far I get each day), I am going to continue using the example of our puddle duck turned pond duck and teach you how she goes from being an ineffective influencer to a godly effective influencer.  Our text for this study is going to be Ephesians 5:1-21.

As a starting point I would encourage you to either read that text below or even better, read it in your own bible.  I can’t wait to get started!  See you tomorrow!

Ephesians 5:1-21

“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.  But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.  For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not be partakers with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.  Therefore He says:

‘Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.’

 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”

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