We hosted a fun 4th of July party with some great friends, and some not-so-familiar faces too. Memories were made around tables with good food, fun and late night conversations. And that trend continued over the whole weekend – new faces and the opportunity for many conversations. And I wondered… am I building the kingdom up? Am I showing others Jesus in how I present myself and how I treat or talk about others? (Honestly, as I write this, I just cringe a little, knowing how often I fail at this.)
Do I leave people with a desire to know Jesus? Not a religious tout that’s shoved down someone’s throat. The Gospel is never spread that way. But do I leave people with a longing to have their own personal relationship with Him because they see the joy and wellspring of life flowing out of me and blessing them? As I contemplate my weekend and all those opportunities… I wonder how many are missed ones.
I don’t have any great answers for how to live this out consistently, but I did read a great message from the book Upended by Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe last night that I think fits well.
“The vision of the kingdom provides the definition of success to guide our apprenticeship. For Jesus’ apprentice, truly great communication is found in serving others well through our communication. In God’s kingdom – where much of what our broken world prizes is flipped on its head - true greatness is found not in glittering success, but in meeting the concrete needs of others.
You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave of all.
That is our barometer, the measure of triumph. Have we met others’ needs through our presence and words? Have we built them up? Have we nourished and encouraged and spurred them forward to love and good deeds? Are they better for the brief encounter, stronger for that conversation, empowered by what we have said and done?”
I don’t think I’m alone in this desire and tension to spread God’s love and joy. I’d love to hear from some of you… do you feel this tug too? How do you live out your faith in every conversation? How do you draw others to Jesus?