Luke 14:21 Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
This is an interesting story that Jesus gave illustrating an invitation to engage with His Father. I want to point out a couple of things here and how they apply to us today.
First, the master said, “go out quickly”. This speaks of importance. I believe that as believers, we should have a sense of priority about inviting others to an encounter with Jesus & to church. We should be aware of opportunity to invite others. Honestly, our opportunity can be at any given place or time. Statistics say that the vast majority of non-church goers would go to church if invited.
The master also said, “bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.” This gives us a clue of some things to look for. When we see someone in crisis, destitution, or lack, it is a good sign that they need some Jesus in their life. Let’s take that opportunity to be a connector to facilitate that connection.
Next, the master said, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in”. Compel them. This speaks of gravity. Not like the physical pull that the earth has, but urgency. We live in a day and age that the things of God have become less urgent in our society as a whole, and God is calling us out of that mindset as believers. We must see that there are lives in the balance. There is an eternal destiny for people that we can potentially be the catalyst to change that by a simple invitation.
One strategy that I believe the enemy has used to cripple the church is the notion that it is unimportant to invite people to “church” but we should instead invite people to Christ. Don’t get me wrong. We SHOULD invite people to Christ. We should not forget to invite people to “church” also though. After all, if we believe that our local church body is doing things that will bring them to Christ or help them grow in their walk, the result will be there. If on the other hand we have so little faith in the mission and vision of our church body, then may be we should re-evaluate some things. The first would be, are we plugged in to the right church body? God wants us to be plugged in to a local body who will facilitate the connection and growth in a relationship with Jesus. Next would be our hearts. Do we have the heart for our local body that God intends? Let’s face it. If our heart is not with our church, we will not bring anyone in. We must consider then, if we do not bring anyone in, is our heart truly with our church? May be. May be not. You be the judge.