by Jacob Burson
“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:8
In the name of “mission” many times we can try to use our beliefs to beat down others who don’t share that belief. Politics, faith, school start times, apple, android.. Name your soap box. It’s most often percieved as someone behind a bullhorn or some other loud, vocal proclaim of what and who we are against. As the bullhorns have disappeared, the digital bullhorns have mutiplied on our facebook feeds and TV screens.
Has any of the yelling and ALL CAPS typing actually led to a spiritual conversation with those we are trying to reach with our point of view? How in the world can we ever expect to shift someone’s position or shift our own if we don’t have a relationship of trust first?
In 1 Thessalonians 2, the Aposle Paul said it like this, “We could’ve been self-righteous, loud, and arrogant with you, but we cared to much about you… And we meant it. We worked the fields with you, we shared meals with you, we laughed, we talked, we spoke of God and the Gospel, we encouraged each other.. Y’all are my brothers and sisters.”… That’s my interpretation, please read 1 Thessalonians 2 for yourself.
Paul was engaged with the people first. He cared about the people first. He loved the people first. Maybe before we invite to church, invite into our homes? Our home is not more sacred than the church. Why do we treat it that way? Or maybe if it’s not our home, what if we invite to share lunch somewhere? Seems like sharing meals was real important in the bible.. Fish, bread, grapes, wine, water, all of that stuff?
Think about what it takes to get to the place to invite someone into our lives as friends. Are we engaging with people to get to that place first? Are we carrying ourselves in a way that if we extend that invitation into our home or to lunch that others would feel like we meant it, that they would feel welcome in our living room?
There has never been an easier time in human history to connect to people. Connect to someone today. Offer lunch. Find out more about their life… And mean it. Love God and Love People. It’s real simple…. Go.