Sep 28, 2010

Be There When He Taps Them on the Shoulder!

In Luke 14, Jesus tells the following story. Read it and then I want to share something I've been pondering lately that came to me through this story.

"Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!” Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations.When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’

Normally, when people talk about this story, they focus on the people who made excuses. They did make excuses...and take a closer look at the excuses...
  • Just bought a field
  • Bought five pair of oxen
  • Just got married
What do these three excuses have in common? 
They all come from people whose lives are going well. The first one had money...he had just bought a field. The second one had just bought five pair of oxen...that's like buying 5 new cars today. The third one had just gotten married...a happy, joyful time in life.

The other thing they had in common...they had no desire to come to the banquet.

So what does the man do? He tells his servants to go out and invite who? The poor, crippled, blind, and lame. These people said "yes." What do they have in common? They are all in a desperate place in life.

Here's what God reminded me of through this. Most people who come to Christ, due so because of a life crisis or time of need. When they are down, they turn toward God's tapping on their shoulder. In that moment, their heart opens to God's beckoning. When that happens, they will look for help. And that's our opportunity to be the arms of Jesus wrapping around them and sharing His love with them. 

There are exceptions to this rule, but if you think about it, a large percentage of the kids and families you have reached were in a rough spot in their life. 

There are people in my city and your city that are on the down slide in life. Perhaps it's a divorce, loss of job, rebellious child, sickness, death of a loved one, or some other rough spot. And God is tapping them on the shoulder...He is inviting them to be a part of His Kingdom. Many will begin to look for help. They may reach out to a co-worker or neighbor who attends your church. Or as they drive by your church, they may take a look and wonder if they should give it a try. 

I have seen this happen so many times over the years.

Recently a Jewish family drove by our church. They had a son who had been giving them a fit...at home and at school. They had tried everything, but nothing had worked. So in desperation, they walked into our church for the first time. Their son went into our children's service. When they picked him up, they noticed an immediate change. His attitude at home and school changed dramatically. A few months later, dad and mom came forward at the end of service and gave their lives to Christ.

This past Sunday, I baptized a young man in his early 20's. He shared with me what had drawn Him to Christ. He had been in a head on collision. His friend, who was with him, died. He survived. God started tapping Him on the shoulder. We had the joy of being there when He responded to God's tapping.

Broken families. Hurting parents. Hopeless kids. They are down and God is tapping them on the shoulder. Let's be there for them. It's going to be messy..they will come broken...hurting...you will have to be committed to walking with them as they begin the journey.

But think about it, what a privilege...we are God's servants and when God taps these people on the shoulder, we can be the one God uses to bring them into His kingdom! It doesn't get any better than that!

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