Sitting there with those two men (“K” and “J” we’ll call them), I felt something I haven’t felt in a long time. A little spark, a little hunger, a little thirst, the challenge of not having the answers to difficult questions; men of various backgrounds and different experiences and opinions, listening to one another without judgment, sharing our beliefs without having to be right. “Strong beliefs weakly held,” as J put it. This is what feels right — talking with others, rather than at them.
Was this what it was like to sit with Jesus? People like us, searching, seeking, doubting, struggling, but most importantly — hungry, thirsty, reaching out for that unnameable something we know exists and surrounds us.
And the relief of realizing, “It’s not my job to save anyone, to make them believe in ‘my’ truth. If this truth I believe in really exists, then it speaks for itself.” All I can be is available. All I can do is listen, and when prompted, say what I believe. The rest? It’s out of my hands. Who am I to label the journey, the slow, almost imperceptible process that God is working out in someone else’s heart? It’s His job, not mine, to reveal himself to someone. I can be His image, his likeness and hands and voice, but I am not Him. If only we’d just be available, letting Him do His work; how much more free and exciting for us, and better for others, yes? This is where I find life — in a room full of men without answers; in a room full of men struggling, seeking, and searching for more.
And there, God is with us.
It’s challenging, uncomfortable, unnerving. To put it bluntly, it scares me. But can God handle it? Yes. Is God big enough? Yes. If He made the universe and everything in it, surely He can handle our questions.
Did not Jesus himself say, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. I came to seek and to save the lost.” If this is the heart of Jesus, so it is mine; the irony being, am I not also one of the lost among the lost, who simply knows he’s been found?
Don’t start by just “inviting someone to church.” Go be Jesus in their world, in their lives, in their doubts, unbelief, pain and struggles, in their questions and searching and seeking. Live in the grit; get your hands dirty; embrace the messiness of the journey, the discomfort of difficult questions without pat answers.
Jesus did, and look what happened. You do it, and just see what happens.
You do your part. And let God do His.
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