Convert or Connect?

By Mary Stout 

When Mother Teresa was asked whether she converted, she answered, ‘Yes, I convert. I convert you to be a better Hindu, or a better Muslim, or a better Protestant, or a better Catholic, or a better Parsee, or a better Sikh, or a better Buddhist. And after you have found God, it is for you to do what God wants you to do.’ ” She wanted people to come closer to God (however they understood Him) and believed that in this way they would also come closer to each other, love one another, and ultimately create a world that is better for everyone to live in.

With this statement, Mother Teresa must have ruffled some feathers. Many of us hold to our belief that Jesus is the only way to God the Father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, CEB)

Mother Teresa understood that we are not here to convert others. We are here to love, serve, and lead others to the cross. We are here to show them how living as a follower of Jesus, our lives can be transformed through a relationship with the Savior and others. It doesn’t matter where you start. That’s what Mother Teresa understood. It’s not our job to convert. It’s God’s.

“Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” (Romans 14:12-13, NLT)

For a long time, I didn’t go to church. I felt it was a place of critics who only want to accept others when it was beneficial to them. I didn’t feel good enough or didn’t follow the rules well enough. I had any number of excuses. I got very good at them. I remember I would only get to church during the offertory so all I had to do was listen to the sermon. Never mind talking to people or forming any sort of connection. That’s when God got my attention.

“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.” (Romans 14: 17-19)

When I read that I decided to step into the Kingdom with two feet. In some circles, they say half-measures avail us nothing. If I was going to follow Jesus, I was going to give it my all and what I understand now is that’s where God met me. He gave me a community of folks to love and do life with. He showed me that it was by in living and knowing Jesus that I could be a message.

So connect with others and point them to God. Let God covert. Stay connected, and help God build his Kingdom. 

Prayer: Father may the lessons you teach us to bring us to show others your light and love. When I stumble, help me get up and keep going. Help me show other’s acceptance and love just as you have by sending your son. Help me to trust that you will take care of the rest. in Jesus name Amen.

 

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