“Come to Me.” Matthew 11: 28
Jesus invited others to Himself. He said, “Come to Me.” He was offering of Himself with no expectation of anything in return. The invitation for people to come wasn’t just for the well-mannered. It wasn’t just for the cleaned up. And it wasn’t just for the intellectual. The invitation was an open for all to come.
How often do we as believers narrow the invitation that Jesus gave? We may not do it on purpose, but rather subconsciously as to only invite those we feel comfortable with. We must keep in mind that Jesus came for the sick and not the well. He came for those who were looking for a cure. Jesus was and is their cure. Just as Jesus extended an open invitation…so must we. We dare not narrow the invitation to only those we know, to only those who are cleaned up, to only those who are well mannered and thankful.
The question we should be asking isn’t, “Are they well mannered?” Or, “Will they fit in with the group?” Instead we should be asking, “Are they open to truth?” And, “Are they ready to hear?” The invitation should be given to all and those who respond should be ministered to through the power of the Holy Spirit and the heart of God. God shows no partiality. He doesn’t care if a person smells funny, He doesn’t care if they don’t speak appropriately, He doesn’t care if they are acceptably dressed. But what He does care about is their heart. God doesn’t look at the outward appearance, but rather at the heart.
“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16: 7.
Sometimes as believers we keep others at a distance. This can be done as a protection to us that our heart may not be harmed. It may also be done out of a place of insecurity. We may not feel equipped to minister to certain people whose lifestyle we are not familiar with. It may also be done out of a place of lack of trust in God. We may not trust that God will lead us in how to interact with certain people groups such as the homeless or addicts. And finally, the distance may be there due to fear of personal harm or damage to personal property.
Regardless of these things, the bottom line is that we must follow the lead of Jesus Christ at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He invited others in. We need to also invite others in. This may not mean inviting a homeless woman to live with you for a week, but it may mean stopping to pray for a person on the street corner. It might mean we give a lady with a sign an apple and tell her she is not forgotten. It may mean sitting on the curb with someone and listening to their story and then encouraging them.
We must stop being afraid of where we may be led. We have to stop worrying about what others may think. We need to choose to trust God fully in this area of outreach and invite others in. Into our hearts, into conversations, into our homes, and into our lives. We must be willing to take a chance on someone and extend them the grace and mercy of God by inviting them in.