“ The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” – Martin Luther King Jr.
It’s hard to believe, but Easter 2018 is nearly here. We are gearing up for a great Easter weekend. We have been praying for and planning for this weekend for a long time and or good reason. It is one of two opportunities (Christmas the other) where people will come to church that normally do not attend. This is a witness to the truth that the Easter story has real meaning and continues to capture people’s imagination. It is an opportunity to reach people who are far from the heart of God to hear the gospel preached and let God work in their lives. So we want every parking space filled, every chair occupied. We want people in very crevice of every campus we have. Many will find Jesus. Many will become regular church attenders.
But, only if we invite them. If studies are correct, then over 80% of your friends who are not Christians or do not attend church are at least open to and likely to respond favorably to your invitation to church for Easter. Let me encourage you to push out of your comfort zones and fight through the doubts to invite your neighbors and friends to our Easter services.
Remember that this is God’s story, not our story. We get to play a small part by simply inviting someone to come to church. Most of the time, we have no idea what God’s doing in people’s hearts. All we need to do is love that person enough to get through a potentially uncomfortable conversation.
Inviting someone to church is important, but whatever the outcome, it’s only one step of loving our neighbor. Jesus tells us in Luke 15:7, “… there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
Let’s love people enough to endure some awkwardness, embarrass ourselves a little (or a lot), and even risk offending someone for the sake of the Gospel. Remember that 100 percent of the people you don’t invite will not attend. God can use your invitation to radically transform a life.
I’m praying for you as you invite your friends and people you cross paths with this week. And, I am praying that the people we invite will hear and respond to the gospel on Easter. Let me leave you with Hebrews 6:10: “For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.”
- Ready to take the plunge and invite someone? But what if they say no, what if they punch you in the face, what if they ridicule you to others, what if inviting them hurts your friendship, what if… How do we overcome the what if’s?