A public introduction can be a tricky thing. One time before speaking at a women’s conference I received an endearing introduction given by a close friend. Her kind words stirred such emotion in me I had to fight back tears.
Another time I was to give a short lesson to a much smaller group of ladies where the average age hovered around eighty. The introduction I received that day was much more matter-of-fact. It went something like this:
“Pastor was supposed to speak with us today, but I suppose something important came up. Instead, Anne is going to speak. We’re letting her go first in the program so she can get out of here.”
Hmmm….not exactly what I was expecting. Still there was no reason to take offense. When there is pie waiting to be eaten at the end of the meeting it’s best to forgo the flowery verbiage and stick to the facts.
Since that meeting I have been considering something. Every single day, I have the opportunity to introduce somebody to Jesus. Most likely it’s not going to be in an overt Bible-toting, public-speaking, church-going kind of way. My typical day does not include standing at the end of my driveway handing out fancy invitations to my next “Meet the Savior of the World” soiree.
Still, in a very public way my life extends a continual invitation to the watching world to see what my Christianity looks like. What I say and do on every usual day of my ordinary life is a representation of my own attitude toward God. Every syllable that resonates from my brain putting words and actions into motion says this is really who I think Jesus is. It is an invitation for others to observe what He means to me.
It can say I am small-minded and judgemental, reflecting every negative stereotype the world wants to portray. Or it can say I am a sinner deserving punishment, but through Christ I am saved by grace.
More importantly it can say to the world – come and see the One who saved me. The One I love. I want you to meet Him. His name is Jesus. Of course, He doesn’t need me to introduce you. He already knows your name.
“”The Lord came to us from far away, saying, “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. So I have helped you come to Me with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 (New Life Version (NLV)
My church offers a Sunday morning van ministry to families who do not have transportation to church. One of those precious passengers is a child in my class. Last week before service he approached me with a concerned look on his face.
“Mrs. Gatts, my mom wants you to call her!”
I peppered him with questions to see if the need to call was as urgent as the look on his face. From his answers it didn’t seem as if his family was in crisis, so I told him I would talk to her as soon as I could.
As I was exiting the sanctuary after the worship service I saw his mom standing in the hallway collecting her three children to go home. It was uncharacteristic of her to have made the trek into town instead of letting the kids ride the van home so I went to her to ask if everything was all right.
“It’s all taken care of now,” she said. “But when the van came to get the kids this morning one of the men who sends his kids on the van told my kids they couldn’t go. My kids all ran back to the house in tears and I told them that they could ride the van because Mrs. Gatts had invited them.”
I was so pleased that she had spoken with authority to allow her children to take their rightful place in that van. Of course it was my hope that someday she would join them, but for now I was ecstatic that her little ones were being given the opportunity to learn about how much Jesus loves them.
There will always be people and circumstances that speak to us telling us that we do not belong. We are not good enough, clean enough, smart enough to be a part of the family of God. That is a lie of the evil one. For although we could never be good enough, clean enough or smart enough, the reality is that we don’t have to be! Jesus invites us into fellowship with Him just as we are. He loves us in spite of sinful selves.
That is what the message of Easter is all about. Jesus was murdered on a cross, buried in the tomb and Hallelujah rose again for all of us. We are His invited guests into the Kingdom. We only have to believe, dear ones. Do not let anyone or anything keep you from coming to Jesus. Speak with the powerful authority you have been given through the blood of the Lamb and claim your rightful place. Jesus has invited you.