THE ABIDING LIFE
Showing Up, Slowing Down, and Inviting Jesus In
By Gwen Sellers
Our church has a new pastor and he's been talking a fair amount about community, taking us through the book of Acts. Recently he spoke on Acts 3:1-10, the healing of the lame beggar. What was emphasized is that Peter and John were simply going about their day when they came across the beggar. They were not going to the temple intentionally to heal someone and demonstrate God's power. They probably weren't even sure the beggar would be healed. The man asked for money. Peter may not have had any on him, but he certainly could have gathered some. Acts 2:45 talks about how the believers would sell their own possessions to help people in need. But instead of going back to his church and having a fundraiser, Peter brought Jesus into the moment. He and John were willing to stop, to listen to the man's need, and then invite Jesus in. There are several challenges for me in that.
First, how often am I willing to stop when going about my day? Am I too busy trying to get to where I'm going to actually see the need around me? Or will I stop and engage? Secondly, when I do stop, do I invite Jesus in or do I try to fix it myself? I can be quick to give worldly answers or try to help people in my own strength. Do I ever just present their need to Jesus? Or present Jesus to them knowing that He is their ultimate need?
The whole concept of going about my day with a willingness to stop and invite Jesus in has been fun to watch play out. I've found myself talking with more people, being more willing to mention the name of Jesus, and enjoying it. I pray it has been good for them as well.
Not coincidentally, my small group has been talking about the Great Commission and how we live it out in our daily lives. We've discussed ways in which our concept of the Great Commission has at times been limited to evangelism. Admittedly many of us view evangelism with a certain distaste — it is uncomfortable for us and can feel like we are selling tickets to Heaven rather than inviting people to life in Christ. We are called to make disciples, not converts. But if we never mention "Jesus," how will people come to know Him? I need to show up to my life, slow down enough to see the people and to engage with them at a heart level, but then be courageous enough to bring Jesus into the moment. I too often back out when it comes down to verbalizing my belief in Jesus and hope that people know I'm a Christian, know what that's all about, and will ask if they're interested. Confession: I've shied away from some questions before, too. But I'm learning. And, really, it's not all that scary. It's pretty fun, actually, to get to talk about God with others. If I claim to really care about these people, why wouldn't I want to invite them into relationship with the God who makes my life livable?
Speaking of small groups, notice that Peter and John were together. Community is essential to the church both in developing disciples and in going out into the world. We don't just do life together at church. We do it in our actual lives. And part of the Christian life is to share the good news of Jesus. Do I go out with others to share the Gospel? Do I serve my community — even my church community — with other believers? Or do I try to live out my faith by myself?
Another challenge has to do with my beliefs about God's power. Am I willing to ask God for something — in front of someone else — knowing full well He might not respond the way I expect Him to? Is my faith in God or in my expectations? Am I willing to risk my reputation because I trust God with my heart?
Pretty amazing how God is involved in the details of life. Intentionality is important, but life isn't all about the big things or the purposeful things. Life is a summation of the days and the moments. When I am intentional about my heart, about knowing God, about obeying Him, I am more able to see Him in the routine. All of life is to be lived in worship to God. Every day I need to love Him and love others. My schedule is His. My reputation is His. My words are His. Oh, that it might be so and so increasingly!
Image Credit: Ed Yourdon; "The kindness of strangers"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Personal-Relationships
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