One of the most discouraging things for any pastor is watching Christ followers as they delight in God's mercy and grace but refuse to share it with others. It seems that no matter how much we talk about the mission God has given us to share His love with others, the number of people willing to do so stays minimal. In my 15 years as a student minister, I used to hear kids say, "I don't know what to say. What if they ask a hard question? What if they reject my offers? What then?" As a pastor, I watch adults who feel the same thing, they are just afraid to say it.
I was reminded this morning of a cool story in Matthew 9. It is a story where 4 guys get together and they bring a paralyzed friend to Jesus. In the end, Jesus heals the man, forgives him and gives him back his life--very cool. But that's not what caught my attention this morning. It was this portion of the story, "Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat." Matthew 9:2 NIV
You know what's interesting about that. There's not one mention of pedigree or knowledge, training or background. The story records no dialogue or questioning or debate by these men. It doesn't reveal that these men had degrees from respected theological schools. All we can gather from this story is one amazing truth: their friend had a need and they knew who could fix it. That's it. That's all it took. In fact, the only thing these guys are recognized for in this story comes in the next verse..."Jesus saw their faith..." Matthew 9:3 NIV
You and I are given two calls in this life. The first is personal...Jesus says, "Come, follow me." And we must either accept or reject that call. The second is contingent upon your answer to the first. As soon as you and I say "yes" to Jesus, we must accept the call to invite our friends. There are no options, no second choices, no "Plan Bs". Plain and simple...if you aren't inviting friends to Jesus, you're telling them to "go to hell." What's amazing to me is this fact: there are many reading this who will be more upset that I just typed that last sentence than you are that your friends are "paralyzed" by sin. We get upset about some of the most stupid things when the one thing in all of Scripture that makes God cry is the sight of a lost soul.
What's your lame excuse? What's your pitiful reason for not doing the one thing God has commanded you to do? Would your boss accept such an excuse for you not doing your job (which is infinitely less important)? The Bible is clear. All it takes is faith. Faith that God matters. Faith that He is real. Faith that He is the answer for your friends and the whole world. Now, what are you prepared to do about it?