"Sharing the Gospel, Sharing Ourselves" Is Based on 1 Thessalonians 2:8
"Sharing the Gospel, Sharing Ourselves," Fuller’s campuswide theme for the 2008-2009 academic year, was also the theme for the seminary’s second chapel service of fall quarter, held Wednesday, October 8, in Travis Auditorium. Director of Chapel Doug Nason brought the message for the service, introducing the theme—based on 1 Thessalonians 2:8—and expounding upon what it means for all Christian believers.
In sharing the gospel with others, "Paul says we are called to share ourselves not a little bit, but significantly—our own selves, our own soul, our own life," declared Nason. God’s Kingdom and glory "will require of us not a contribution, but a commitment."
As illustration Nason described Cullen I. K. Story, one of his professors at Princeton Theological Seminary, who volunteered several hours of his time each week to tutor Nason and a few other students in Hebrew. "This was someone who did more than just teach the gospel," said Nason; "he lived the gospel by sharing himself." As did a Sunday school teacher Nason had in elementary school who, after Nason’s family moved, drove 280 miles to deliver a promised Bible to Nason at his new home.
The Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 show a determination to share the gospel that comes out of love, Nason explained. "There’s nothing else we can do as followers of Christ than share ourselves. The gospel we share is about a God who shared himself for us…it’s about a life that was lived and a death that was died for us." This kind of message can’t be shared with words alone, Nason stressed: "No matter how eloquent our words, we cannot share it without being, at least in some small way, a demonstration of it."
We share ourselves with others because, in the words of theologian John Calvin, "it’s a matter of being ‘tied and bound’ to each other," Nason said. He concluded by describing the life of 18th century minister and hymn lyricist John Fawcett, who was devoted to his small baptist congregation to the point of declining more prestigious posts in order to stay with the flock he loved. "He was bound to these people; he was committed to these people," Nason said.
The service concluded with the singing of Fawcett's best-known work, "Blest Be the Ties that Bind."