When I look out from the platform on Sunday morning, I see you. I see you as a person, not a product. Since Jesus is our mutual older brother, I see you as a sibling. I see you as someone dearly loved by God. I see you as someone who I get to love. I also see you as someone longing to make a difference in someone else’s life. I see you.
You know what I don’t see? I don’t get to see the investment of time, prayer, and relationship you make into the lives of others the remaining 167 hours of the week. It might be in your marriage, your family, your workplace, your school, your neighborhood or community, or your Life Group. Maybe you don’t see that either. . . or, at least don’t intentionally think about it, often. But, let’s be honest – most of you spend a whole lot more time living like Jesus with other people than you do with me at church.
Let’s face it. You and I wouldn’t be engaged in a growing relationship with Jesus if someone didn’t invite and invest in us. For me, it was David Bell.
David always gave me a high-five at church (even when I go home, I get one!). He found me every Sunday after worship and made sure to ask me how my week was going. He seemed genuinely interested in my lame job at Pizza Hut. . . and yet, more interested in whether or not I was going to join him and a group of 6 other guys at Coney Island for brunch after the service. He led a short devotion or bible study with us. He dropped in on my concerts and games. He convinced me to go to summer camp. He remembered my birthday. He gave me some of the best college advice, ever (change your major at least 3 times before you lock into your career). Dave did this every week for 6 years. That’s 312 times between junior high and my first year of college. And... us 7 guys got to meet his now wife before he even knew he was in love with her! When it comes to our relationships, that's what consistency over time begins to look like. Even when he or I were out of town or not at church, he’d make a point to call me on Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, Dave invited and invested in me as a person before he spoke a word to me about Jesus.
I knew that Dave loved and cared for me before he taught and challenged me to grow.
And, isn’t that just how Jesus works, too? Jesus asks Peter how fishing is going. “Not so well”, Peter replies. Jesus tells Peter to put his net back into the water. (You can imagine Peter thinking, “really” in my 7-year old’s sassy tone of voice.) Of course, Peter does it and we know the next words out of Jesus’ mouth were, “follow me”.
You see, Jesus engaged Peter in a way that Peter understood: “how’s was fishing last night?”. He listened. Jesus invited Peter to follow him. And for the next three years, Jesus invested everything He had in Peter. Jesus taught Peter everything He knew. . . showed him everything He did. . . Jesus encouraged Peter, corrected Peter, and stuck with Peter – even when Peter didn’t stick with Jesus. Jesus invited and invested in Peter as a person before he spoke a word to him about Himself.
We all need someone to invite and invest in us… and someone to invite into our lives and invest in for the long-haul. It’s how God designed us to be. It’s who Jesus saved us to become.
So, here are three ways you can get started inviting and investing in someone else:
We see people more outside of church than at church. And the best way to see people is how Jesus sees people – harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Translation: Jesus sees people longing to make a difference in someone’s life because He, the Good Shepherd made the biggest difference in yours.
Invite. Invest. I can’t wait to see you on Sunday.
Love you more than you know.
The OSLC ministry team is a growing collection of women and men who live as a family on mission, leading the OSLC family in connecting an unchanging God with a changing world by loving God, loving people, and living like Jesus.