One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” Luke 10:25-28 (NLT)
What Jesus is saying is that our mission is to love our neighbors. Love Your Neighbor. I can’t imagine a better motivation for sharing the good news about the grace of God… than the simple reality that I love my neighbor. Do you love your neighbor?
A recent study came out from the Institute of Church Growth. It’s a survey of 14,000 Jesus followers. One of the questions that they were asked was, “How did you come to Christ? How did you come to church?” 1-2% just walked in, saw the church, figured it looked kind of cool, something in that first visit attracted them and they kept coming. 5% came because they heard something about church that they thought would meet a need, the pastor, a program, something. But what’s interesting is if you go down to the option, “I was invited by a friend or relative,” Over 75% checked that box.
So… if someone comes to church on Easter for the very first time — or even the first few times — chances are pretty good that there is a relationship in their life that brought them. A good news person lived out grace in front of their eyes. A neighbor prayed for them. A friend invited them.
One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 2:10, Paul writes, “You are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He prepared in advance for you to do.”
Do you hear that? You’re God’s workmanship, God’s masterpiece. He is fashioning you into a person of good news and as he shapes you to be a person of good news he’s preparing good works for you to do. This is not just general. It’s specific. God is shaping you to do specific good deeds for specific people so that they will hear, really hear the good news of the grace of God, the good news of Easter. God is uniquely shaping you so that you can have a part in his mission for unique people whom he loves. Your neighbors.
He has already planned ways to use your personality, your journey, your experiences — good and hard — your sorrows, your gender, your strengths, all these things shaped by God to reach out…because there are some people that only you can hug, some hands that only you can hold, some ears that will only hear your invitation, some people only you can reach.
I love this video. Watch it. Laugh. Then ask yourself do I care enough to invite?