By Lena Wood
It was worry that killed the cat—according to the original adage. Around A.D. 1600 Shakespeare wrote, “Courage man! What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care” (Much Ado About Nothing). At some point in history, curiosity—that penchant for sticking your nose where it may not belong—apparently replaced care as the character flaw of the day. Lord Byron called curiosity “that low vice.”
But curiosity has been maligned. It was curiosity that led Nicodemus to Jesus. Nicodemus was a seeker, like millions of folks today. The rebel soul may reject truth because it loves sin (2 Thessalonians 2:10), but the seeker dares to question. A seeker addresses those nagging thoughts that something’s not right. He wrestles. She analyzes.
Watch for seeker folk. They’re everywhere. Once you find them, what do you do?
First, if you’ve been ashamed of Jesus, admit it. (Take a little time to read Mark 8:38, Romans 1:16.)
Then make yourself available. Step out. Be brave. Don’t have a care about the conflict you’ll face. Years ago a Japanese man who resented his wife’s attending church lambasted the minister late into the evening, returning the next day to continue his verbal harangue. The minister persisted with the gospel. The man broke under its power and was in church the next Sunday, proclaiming Jesus with the same intensity as he’d fought him. We have a cloud of such witnesses, onetime opponents to the truth who were really just desperate for it: C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel. Scores of former Muslims, Jews, and occultists have searched and found Jesus. See their stories on Youtube.
Got atheist friends? A minister’s son had somehow come to the conclusion that humans were without souls and “nothing more than meat.” He nonetheless attended a Bible study, admitting that he’d told God, “I don’t believe in you anymore.” The teacher asked gently, “Are you happier now with your new worldview?” The young man’s face fell. “No.” What kind of god does your atheist friend not believe in? Chances are, you don’t believe in that god either. Introduce your friend to Yahweh.
Seekers have big questions. So have big answers. Search the Scriptures. Be curious about God. Ask yourself: When did I first realize that God was real? What does Jesus want me to do for him?
Dig deep. Prepare your testimony without worrying how it will be received. Can’t distinguish truth seekers from truth haters? No problem. Arm yourself with love. Pray with patience. George Müller prayed his entire life for five lost friends. One by one they came to faith, the last man after 60 years—at Müller’s graveside.
Curiosity overcame care—for the wise men and Zacchaeus and Nicodemus. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). Pagans, cheaters, and legalists, they cast off hesitation and trepidation to go looking for Jesus. They found him. Their witness endures across the ages.
“It is said that a cat has nine lives, but care would wear them all out” (Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable). Whether curiosity or care kills cats—that remains a mystery; they’re not very communicative creatures. But a life stifled by care will certainly kill your witness. Be curious instead. Who’s seeking Jesus? How will you show the love of God, the joy of salvation, the peace that passes understanding? And what’s this power at work in your heart, this same power that raised Jesus from the dead!?
Have courage! “Thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.”
Lena Wood is the author of mission journals Called, Challenged, and Changed and Adventure Grammy to six grandsons.