Countless times, I find myself frustrated with the “no” responses I receive from the people I invite to church. Here I am thinking that I have the answer to their problem, and coming to church will solve it. Yes, the truth of Jesus can and will set people free, but how we deliver the Gospel to unbelievers is so crucial.
I think about the random invites that I often receive for upcoming birthday parties. I get them and I cringe, finding every excuse not to go. It’s usually from someone that I haven’t heard from in a while. And unfortunately, I find myself thinking, they probably just want money. I barely hear from them throughout the course of the year, but every time a birthday rolls around there’s that invitation. And out of the many thoughts that cross my mind, one in particular stands out: now I have to go be around a bunch of people that I don’t know.
Have you ever noticed that invitations can be so impersonal? Even an invite to church. This message challenged me to take an inventory of all the people I’ve invited to a church service or event. And it awakened me to the fact that people are more drawn to compassion and mercy than a cold, distant invite.
“Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” -Proverbs 3:3-4
Everywhere Jesus went, he had compassion. And like Jesus, we are called to live a life built on compassion. We cannot expect people to willingly accept the truth about Jesus Christ if we are not living lives that demonstrate it. Mercy comes first, and then truth. If we can’t demonstrate the Gospel no one is going to buy it.
Mercy opens the door to Jesus. As you love on people and meet their needs, you are letting Jesus shine through you. People don’t want a distant invitation to church, or to hear your constant preaching. They long to be loved and cared for. It is our acts of kindness that they will remember.
Are their needs around you? Are you loving others in a tangible way? Or have you just been telling them to come to church- a place that is unfamiliar to them where they will be asked to give money and be surrounded by people they don’t know.
As you demonstrate the mercy of Jesus-feeding the hungry, caring for the oppressed, visiting the sick-there is an exchange that takes place. Your influence is the invitation and the door opener to Christ. The influence you have on one person has the ability to affect thousands.