A Different Sort of Invitation
As you read the gospels, you notice Jesus doing a lot of different things. He heals the sick. He casts out demons. He teaches and shares parables. He eats and drinks and goes to people’s houses.
In all that living and ministry, He never once invites anyone to church.
He never mentions His killer children’s ministry, rockin’ music, or cell groups. Please don’t misunderstand me: there’s nothing wrong with any of those things or even inviting people to your church services, but we can’t let it be a substitute for how Jesus lived.
Jesus was moved with compassion and healed the blind. He redirected His disciples to Samaria just for an encounter with a forgotten woman. He teaches the crowd, not because He was the pastor but because they were like sheep without a shepherd and He loved them.
Some of those people followed Him. Some of them received their miracle (maybe even gratefully) but may have went on living their lives fairly normally. Jesus didn’t get mad or quit helping because He didn’t get the response He wanted. He based nothing on external value systems or metrics.
Jesus did what the Father told Him to do and lived submitted to eternal purposes His entire life (and death).
Having been the pastor of a congregation, I can speak from experience that you often want to see the fruit of your time and effort in people’s lives. I often marveled how you would spend so many hours or even months walking with people through the hardest times of their lives and then once they were past it, you couldn’t find them.
Sadly in those moments, I’ve wondered whether it was all worth it. They didn’t become a church member! I did all this to benefit them and then they just walked away! You may feel that way too (whether a pastor or not) that your loving people or helping them is a strategy for conversion or church attendance or something else, but can we truly love and trust God with the outcome?
In truth, Jesus never invited anyone to church, but He invited everyone to Church.
Little “c” church can be about our ego, competition, or selfishness while big “C” Church is only about Him. Everything He did was to reveal the Father and His heart. No agenda. No seeking any reciprocity.
He faithfully poured out what was given and in reality, that’s His invitation to us. Your loving, giving, and serving doesn’t have to be about you; it can be an extension of the Father’s love so that then you realize you’re freely giving what wasn’t yours to begin with.
His acts of love through others led you to see Him and you and I get the same opportunity.
What are your thoughts here? Have you ever been guilty of expecting an action from loving someone?