I recently noticed that when Jesus invited Matthew to follow him, he did so in the midst of everything else going on in life.
In Matthew 9:1-13, we find this order:
– Jesus was working – leading his team, healing people (8 verses)
– Jesus invited Matthew to follow and Matthew responded (2 verses)
– Jesus deals with critics (2 verses)
– Jesus casts vision, plans for future, and summed up his mission (2 verses)
Inviting people to follow Jesus (and incidentally, getting up and following Jesus) doesn’t come when things are all perfectly ready and complete. You don’t get everything tidied up, then go out and invite people to follow Jesus. It all happens in one big ball of craziness called life.
Ministry leaders, take heart. While you’re in the midst of meetings, administrative tasks and preparations for Sunday, you’re invited to notice people and invite them them on the journey, even if it is just one quick conversation or connection. When critics have something to say or when you are working toward the future vision of the church, be sure to keep the main thing on the front burner – inviting people to follow Christ. Don’t wait for everything to be ready and in order to invite people. You are crossing paths with people who are put into your life for a reason. Invite them to follow Christ. Invite them now, right in the middle of all that you are doing.
Meetings, problems, planning and dealing with people – the fun stuff of ministry. In addition to all those things, be bold. Make the invitation simple. Declare it clearly. Jesus’ words are powerful – “follow me.” Work those words into your schedule this week.
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