Hide it Under a Bushel–Yes?
When I was growing up in Sunday school, I remember the teacher making us stand up at the beginning of every class to sing. And of course, at that age, the teacher made us go through all these crazy motions that today would throw my back out.
One of the songs we used to sing was I’m Gonna Let It Shine. We were loud and proud, singing that song at the top of our lungs! We’d get to the part that says, “Hide it under a bushel—NO!” and we’d yell so loud that we’d startle the old folks class upstairs.
The fact is, as little children we were having fun singing a song, but we didn’t have a clue what it meant. What were we hiding under a bushel? What is a bushel? It scared me to think that whatever it was, Satan was trying to blow it out.
It wasn’t until years later, long after we quit singing, that I realized that this song was about being a bold witness for Jesus. We were actually singing about the words the Lord Himself spoke in Matthew 5 when He said, “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
This song wasn’t just a clever little jingle—it was a profound reminder in simple language, that we as followers of Jesus have a divine responsibility to let the light of Christ shine through us to a dark and needy world.
But in recent years, something alarming has happened. The attitude of many believers and churches has subtly changed. Our actions when it comes to winning the lost to Christ locally and globally reflect an outlook that says, “Hide it under a bushel—Yes!”
Let me explain. If you do a Google search for trends in evangelism, you’ll find a report that should turn the stomach of every follower of Christ. In short, it reports that since 2004, interest in evangelism in the U.S. (as a searched item in Google) has dropped roughly 75 percent. While this alone isn’t the only indicator, it shows that overall interest in sharing Christ with others in comparison to other topics searched, has plummeted.
But lest I be taken as alarmist, let me share some other trends. In a recent Barna study titled “Is Evangelism Going Out of Style?” only 51.4 percent of Christians from all backgrounds have actually shared their faith with someone this past year?
Evangelism as an activity is in decline in every age demographic of believers except millennials (way to go young people—keep it up!).
So what’s the problem? Why are we hiding such a great salvation under “bushels?” Let me offer three possible answers:
- Many American churches/believers have turned inward. Since the tragic events of 9/11, there has been an increase in fear and hostility toward people who oppose Christianity.
- As a result, we’ve lost our sense of urgency. Our salvation is secure. Praise the Lord for that. But we’ve lost our passion and urgency for those who have not accepted the same gift.
- We live in a world that is increasingly hostile to Christ. Let’s face it, being a follower of Christ is not a politically correct position to be in these days, and that makes it more difficult and intimidating to share our faith with others.
I don’t want to leave you on a downer, so here’s my encouragement. Take a week, and during that week, when you pray, study, meditate etc., focus on one thing—the incredible depth of God’s love for you. Slice and dice it from every angle you can. At the end of the week, pray one simple prayer: “Father, please accept my eternal gratitude for your love for me. May I, through your power, pass that love on to others who need You as desperately as I do. Amen.”