Sunday, February 3, 2008

love triangle: taking responsibility

In this, the third segment of our love triangle, we see that it’s not enough to feel God’s love. It’s not enough to love him in return. We are also called to share God’s love with others. Friends. Neighbors. Strangers. Enemies.

You know what I am talking about. Wilsonian is in Swaziland right now. [rwk] is serving lunch to the homeless. TK is making sense of all this to a high schooler. Vapor through photos. NaNcy through poetry. Trace, K-Bob, Barbara, et al, all sharing in so many ways.

Community service, helping the needy and simply listening to people are so important. But what I am thinking about today is not about sharing God’s love with the homeless – but with the himless.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
I have been actively following Christ for over six years now, and do you know how many people I have brought with me to church? Zero.

It’s not that I haven’t invited people. Or prayed about them. I’ve passed out a few Bibles and tried to set a good example. Some of my friends have come to church events – like fishing trips, concerts, dinners. But not to church. Notta one.

Then I had a revelation on Tuesday night.

For years I have been inviting people to church. When instead I should have been sharing God’s love. What does that mean…

One: step up
I’ve been delegating my responsibility to the church. OK guys, I’ll bring them in the door, then you wow them with some heartfelt worship songs, a cool video and a powerful message. Instead of taking responsibility, I have taken a seat in the pew. Hoping that the pastor would do all the heavy lifting. That needs to change.

Two: shift gears
Coming together as a community of faith – church – is an important part of loving God. But it’s not the central part of loving God. I’ve been saying “let me tell you about my church” instead of “let me tell you about our God”. Perhaps one person coming to Christ is more amazing that 100 people coming to church.

Three: overcome the fear
It’s easy to say “Heh Bob, I think you would really like the message at church this Sunday.” What I want to say – but don’t – is something far more personal. “Heh Bob – God did some amazing things in my life this week. I would like to share them with you, but more importantly, I would love to hear how you felt God’s love, too!”

That’s a conversation I would like to have with people, but don’t. And that needs to change. I need to step up, shift gears and overcome my fears. For the only one who can share the love that God has given me – is me.


Anonymous said...

it is good to be able to take steps in faith. for if we do the Spirit can do the rest. in continual relating with God we are in a place to listen better to the Spirit with our spirit. if we remain open to being led then we will know when we are to speak and if obey the prompting then the Spirit will give us the words.

a lot of this is our control. giving up control and putting our trust in God.

fear is an interesting thing in this too. there are some scriptures that can help to put this into perspective.

matthew 10 is a good read.

oswald chambers wrote
"when you fear God you fear nothing else."

i often fear things for there is a lot of pain involved in life.

i fear what others will think of me. mainly, i guess, because i like to recieve their acceptance.

that is just a couple of reasons why time with God and His word through the Spirit is so important.
and one of the obvious ways actually seen to us, as why this relationship of Love for God is commanded of us.

thank you for such a wonderful post of thoughts.

Kansas Bob said...

The main part of it all is to just say what He gives us to say. The words are easy to recognize because they come from deep within us. The hard part is earning the right to be heard.

sacred vapor said...

Your post reminds me of Jesus' words "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

it seems that 'sharing' love with neighbors starts within the shared love of the brethren... and works it's way outward, with Christ at the center.

good stuff

Pat said...

Did you know that most folks come to the Lord through contact with someone? Showing God's love can be done in a multitude of ways and often without even mentioning God.

We have the mind of Christ. The problem is to discover it. If we plug in and listen, we can allow Him to function through us. He alone gives life.

I've tried to witness and if the Spirit is not in it--if I'm doing it on my own steam--it just doesn't work. However, when God opens the door ( usually at the most inconvenient time) it is awesome.

Ed G. said...

nancy -- thank you for the link to MT 10.

Good reminder that we all have work to do, but salvation will not be borne by our efforts along. As God said, "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town."

Kansas Bob - great insights. sometimes I sweat to much over what to say rather than letting the words just come from Him.

Vape -- thanks for joining the conversation, and the much-needed reminder to keep Christ at the center.

Pat -- I know what you mean, let's hope we can all keep the spirit in it!

Anonymous said...

this is a good message, i have been just thinking more about it. it is a good reminder to think of this in my own life. to think of what perspective i am putting on this myself.