Saturday, August 09, 2008

different fruit

I've spent the last couple of days at Willow Creek's Leadership Summit and have a myriad of thoughts running through my head as a result. But there's only one that I'm ready to blog about.
My eyes were opened to a mistake I believe we, as followers of Jesus, are making in our judgments of our own lives.
One of the speakers was telling stories about some of the "messy" people that come to his church's weekend service. His stories all centered around people whose lives reflected distance from God and disinterest in His suggested ways of living. I'm paraphrasing the pastor's follow-up comment to all these stories: he essentially said that, while it may be uncomfortable for us, as believers, to have such "messy" people in our church services, that we should welcome them with open arms because these are exactly the kinds of people Jesus hung out with.

The moment he said that, it hit me... we're comparing apples to oranges. We're comparing modern-day church attendance to Jesus' personal life. People who are far from God may, in fact, attend our church services, but that doesn't mean we're living the lives Jesus commanded. If His focus had been church attendance, I think He would have set the example by inviting non-God-followers to the temple. But He didn't. He didn't approach the Samaritan woman and say "hey, come to the Synagogue with me." He sat with her. He talked with her. He got to know her and her story.

Jesus didn't invite people to structures and services. He invited them into relationship. So if I'm pointing to church attenders as evidence that I'm following Jesus' example, my idea of "following Jesus" is very, very wrong.


Blogger Cheryl said...

I like what you said, Stef. Jesus met people where they were. Even though so many followed him everywhere, there were certain types of people that wouldn't or couldn't, so He went to them.

8:22 PM  

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