Chasing after people takes longer when they are moving away from you rather than towards you. Yet we continue to do it as that is the Christian thing to do.
Some of the people we have met responded warmly to our Gospel message, and to our offer to train them in telling their story and explaining the Gospel, and planting churches. Yet they have failed to be home at the arranged time, and failed to return calls or texts. So we eventually catch up with them, and they express the same enthusiasm as previously - but again are out (or hiding) when the appointed time comes - with no explanation or apology. So we try all over again.
I don't think this is biblical, or what Jesus did. Yes he welcomed people with all their sin and mess and brokenness, but he also expected them to change - "sin no more," "give back to the people you've ripped off." Jesus wholeheartedly and unreservedly embraced people as they were, but then demanded repentance, which involved a changed life, then moved on, apparently without feeling the need to offer a comprehensive support package, or repeatedly chase those who fell away. Indeed the parable of the sower suggests that this is inevitable, even when the one sowing is the Son of God himself.
Jesus of course went further - at times he made it incredibly hard for people to follow him, seemingly doing his best to put them off. The rich young guy was told to sell everything he had and give it away. Nicodemus, proud of his heritage, was told he must be "born again."
I am fearful that in constantly chasing after people we are doing little more than making ourselves feel good and ensuring unhealthy dependency. While Jesus did address crowds, he also sent out 72, and prioritised his training of the 12 disciples. He did not chase after the rebellious, but poured himself into the willing and committed. A lesson to be learnt?
Reflecting on 63 years
1 week ago