My life was forever altered by an invitation. A Bible study leader and fellow college student, whom I did not know well at the time, invited me to explore “the world’s largest antique shop.” Although it may not have actually been the world’s largest, what was important was the connection made that day. As an individual trying to find my identity in the world, I was constantly let down and ultimately unfulfilled in the people, places, and things I placed my faith.
That fall October day, a friendship formed which opened my eyes to the selfless lives Jesus calls us to live. I was a freshman in college, and here was a cool senior going out of his way to make me feel welcomed. As I began to grow deeper in my faith, I realized this was a small glimpse into gospel living. I felt undeserving of this affectionate display of love, the same way we all are unworthy of God’s grace. Through our understanding of how helpless we are without Christ, our eyes are opened to the lost and wandering people all around us, along with their need for eternal salvation.
Jesus lived a life completely aware of his surroundings and the needs of those around him.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to the disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’” - Matthew 9:36-37
Jesus speaks about a harvest that is ready for Christians to reap, but why are the workers few? How do we go into the harvest? How do we allow different things like our schedules, time, or money to rule our lives?
In order to be a laborer that Jesus speaks of in this passage, I think it is important that we recognize who it is that we are working for. When we root our lives in Christ, our identity is no longer tied to earthly expectations or fear. It allows us to be free from the bondage of sin and liberated to have a personal relationship with Jesus that transforms us from the inside out. My hope for our church community is that we would be moved by the needs of those around us and compassionately love our neighbors to help them understand what a personal relationship with Jesus looks like. This can only be accomplished by allowing the Holy Spirit to penetrate our hearts and pour into the lives of others.
Jesus invites us into a personal relationship with him. Viewing him as our example, we should be invitational in the relationships we have with others.
Friendships take on a new meaning when we view each conversation and interaction as an opportunity to show Christ to another person.
Jesus extends an open-ended invitation for all to partake in His kingdom. A simple invitation to grab coffee, a donut, or attend community group, can go a long way in planting a seed to bringing someone to Christ. Invitations are a way to care for people in a personal way, and to help build meaningful relationships. One simple way for our community to share the love of Christ is to become more aware of how we can be more invested in the lives of those around us. My prayer for us this season is we will open up our calendars, our homes, and our hearts to others so that Christ can shine through our invitations.