Green eggs, ham and the gospel

The following is taken from Rick Tozer’s December 2011 testimony magazine article.

“We must not lose heart in reaching out to people with the Word and love of God. We must not talk about giving up.”

My boys, Nathaniel and Nicholas, enjoy reading one of Dr. Seuss’s greatest works, Green Eggs and Ham. I think children and adults alike love it!

greeneggs_articleSam, one of the main characters in the story, tries to get his friend to try green eggs and ham.  His friend claims to have a dislike for green eggs and ham—and who can blame him? Sam offers to share this delicacy in a house, with a mouse, in a box, or with a fox. His friend responds, “I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere.”

Sam keeps trying. At every rejection, he comes up with a new idea and his friend keeps saying, “There is no way I am going to give them a try!” Sam is persistent. I suppose if I were Sam and my friend said, “I do not like them, Sam-I-am,” I would have said, “OK. No problem.” And that would have been the end of the story. But Sam was different. He did not worry so much about offending his friend. He believed the most important decision his friend could make would be to try the green eggs and ham.

[As Christians], we want to tell the world that the greatest story ever told is the message the angel declared years ago to Joseph in a dream: “… do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20b-21). The same message was offered to the shepherds in a field: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11, NIV © 2011).

We believe that the gospel is the most important message for people to hear. We claim, and rightly so, “There are not many ways to heaven. There are not even two ways.” We share the conviction and Christ’s declaration, “There is only one way!”  And Jesus said, “I AM that way.”

And that is our green eggs and ham message for THE WORLD!  

I give full marks to Sam for being persistent. I also congratulate him on his creativity and willingness to be flexible. His goal was to share his life-changing green eggs and ham experience with his friend. And nothing was going to stop him. Sam basically said, “If you won’t eat them with a fox, then will you eat them in a box? No? How about with a goat or on a boat? Will you eat them in the dark, on a train or in the rain?” Sam must have figured that eventually something would click.

This children’s story is a wonderful example and reminder to us that we must not lose heart in reaching out to people with the Word and love of God. We must not talk about giving up. We must persevere and remain faithful in declaring to our friends around the globe that “ … God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Our green eggs and ham message will not change. We will not compromise the message of the gospel. We do, however, need to be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives and faithfully present the message in such a way that it will reach people where they are. The Apostle Paul creatively shared the message of the gospel with the people of Athens. He said to them, “I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD” (Acts 17:22-23). He then adds, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands” (v. 24).

The ending of the children’s book is a happy one. Sam’s friend eventually sampled the green eggs and ham. After trying the fine cuisine, he says to Sam, “I do so like green eggs and ham! Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-am!”

When those listening to the Apostle Paul heard the gospel message, some of them sneered and refused to accept the truth about Jesus while others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject” (v. 32). Later, we read that some of the people became followers of Paul and put their trust in the one true God. Paul declared the Word of the Lord in a creative manner—and his listeners turned their hearts toward the Creator of the universe and gave their lives to Christ. May God help us to be as just as persistent in using every possible means to reach our neighbours, friends and family members for Christ.

Rick Tozer is the director of development and global operations with the International Missions department of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. This article appeared in the December 2011 issue of testimony, the monthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2011 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

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One Response to “Green eggs, ham and the gospel”

  1. Randy Gill January 26, 2015 2:05 pm #

    Nicely done Rick.

    Jesus’ response to Sam…”I am that I am, Sam I am”.

    RG

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