I remember crouching down on one knee, holding my arms out and coaxing my babies to walk toward me. My fingertips barely touching theirs as they wide-eyed looked at me with a bit of apprehension and a bit of excitement tottering on their tiptoes. They usually trusted me enough to take at least one or two steps before plopping down on their diaper padded bottoms. I would clap my hands and say “yay” and they would wave their little arms around in the air so pleased with those first steps. It was always only a matter of days before they were walking on their own, getting more confident and bolder with each success.
I find we can be the same way. Can you remember when you first became a Christian? Many are on fire, ready to conquer the world and win over everyone they know and then some. Unlike the toddler learning to walk, the times of failure are more likely to cause us to quit instead of getting back up and trying again. Toddlers are determined to conquer walking; they seem to know there will be something new to explore with each step, some new treasure across the room to examine.
As adults we don’t like failure. We shouldn’t look at our efforts (when unsuccessful) to reach out to people as failures. Instead we should trust God just like our babies trusted us as we are coaxing them into our arms with those first few steps. We are gardeners. Like Paul and Apollos, we are only servants doing our everyday jobs. Each one of us can help germinate the same seed with our own individual talents, some planting and others watering, while remembering it is God who gives the increase.
I know it can be scary to invite our friends to church or even to have a conversation with them about Jesus. One of my fears is rejection. None of us like to be rejected. I also fear confrontations, what if they challenge me with something I can’t immediately answer. I guess those are legitimate fears, it helps to remember that it isn’t us they are rejecting, it is the opportunity to know Christ and the opportunity for a new life they are rejecting. And for the other fear; none of us will ever have all the answers, we can say, without shame, that “we don’t know” but we are willing to study to try and answer their questions. I believe in all situations where we want to bring others to Christ that God will give us the courage we need. I know for me I must put my fears away and truly desire that others have the same hope I have. The hope of spending eternity in heaven with God.
Luke 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
I challenge all of us—-starting today, reach out to the lost. Invite your friends, your neighbors and strangers, invite them to church, to a get together with other Christians, to read the bible with you. Give all of them the same opportunity, the same grace, God has given us. Like a parent with their child, Jesus waits with outstretched arms.
Who is Apollos? Who is Paul? They are servants by whom you believed, even as the Lord has given to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Neither is he who plants important, nor he who waters, but God, who gives the increase. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his own reward according to his own work. We are God’s co-workers, and you are God’s garden. Also, you are God’s building, and according to God’s grace given to me as a wise builder, I have laid a foundation, and another builds upon it. But let each one be particular how he builds. No man can lay another foundation other than the one laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 3:5-11
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop — a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. He who has ears, let him hear.” Matt 13:3-9
Are you up for the challenge?