« Camping | Blog Research Request »

Go? Attract?

24 June, 2003 5:10 PM

Just back from camp for a few hours to teach RE class in the local primary school (it went well...those kids are full of life) and for Living Room tonight. (we're looking at Acts 6-8)

There is some meaty conversation going on in the past few posts comments - I'm being challenged as I read which is great. I wish I had some more time today to digest it.

One of the central question that is emerging is 'did Jesus go to the sinners - or did they come to him?' (ok no one actually said those words, but I'm sensing this is one of the things we're exploring) Its an important question to grapple with because it will impact our own approach to interacting with non believers.

I would answer the question by saying YES.

I think both are seen in the life of Jesus and the early church. Yes people did approach Jesus - its no wonder that they did - he was healing, doing miracles and seemed to be an amazingly stimulating story teller/teacher. Of course people were attracted to him.

However I think there were times where Jesus also approached others. For example the day he saw Levi sitting at his tax collectors booth and said: 'Come follow me' (Luke 5:27). To me this seems to be initiated by Jesus.

Another example that springs to mind is his interaction with the Samaritan woman who had had numerous husbands - Jesus approached her for a drink of water and a conversation ensued. (John 4:7)

In John 5:1 he approaches a lame man to heal.

At the very least Jesus put himself in positions to meet people living on the fringe of society. He travelled through areas where Gentiles and Samaritans lived, he went to the pool of Bethsiada and he went into the houses of tax collectors where other tax collectors would be gathered. He did not remain locked away in a cave or an upper room where such people would have to go out of their way to find him.

Its also interesting to see how he sent out his disciples on different occasions to preach, heal and cast out demons. Although not implicitly stated it seems that he's saying to go find people that can receive healing etc.

The early church also seemed to both attract people but also go to people. Paul's missionary trips show someone who sought out people to hear the gospel.

Philip (Acts 8) hears the Holy Spirit tell him to Go interact with the Ethiopian.

If we are only supposed to share our faith with those that come onto our turf then centuries of overseas mission work has been based on the wrong principle.

In my own personal experience I've had times of both people coming to me asking questions and also times where I've sensed God has wanted me to seek another person (or group) out in order to develop relationship and share my faith.

I don't see it as one or the other. Both approaches seem biblical.

However over arching both is the command to 'make disciples' and to 'be witnesses'. We are called to be 'light' and 'salt' - to impact the world around us. Whether others come to us or we go to others the command remains.

Paul encourages us to be careful in our approach. He says: 'Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.' (Col 4:5-6)

Comments

Page:

Hallelujah... someone has their blinkers off!

Regan » 25 June, 2003 7:57 AM

Darren,

aren't you supposed to be camping? Your concept of the great outdoors must be different to mine. Mine doesn't include log blog entries, or computers at all for that matter.

chris » 25 June, 2003 12:36 PM

Darren,

You said it so much nicer than I did. I always want to do my impression of Luke 19:45 and 46.

faith, hope, and love,
Missy

Missy » 25 June, 2003 11:15 PM

thank you, Darren! that's exactly right!

meg » 26 June, 2003 11:55 AM

Email this entry to a friend:

Friend's email:


Your email:


Message (optional):