As a kid, I loved to climb trees, and growing up in Georgia, there were plenty of them. If it was a fruit tree, we would be way too ambitious and uninhibited whether it was easing out on a limb or reaching for the fruit on a rickety old ladder. Nowadays, I seldom venture too far from a tree trunk and make sure that I am very safe on ladders. If the fruit are not close to the ground, they won’t be picked up by this old man. The fruit higher up will just have to rot.
I am afraid that I often live out life too close to the “trunk” where things are safe and familiar seldom reaching out to minister to people who don’t look like me, believe what I believe, and/or have similar interests as myself. The Bible calls Christians “salt” who are called to be “seasoning” in our society even if individuals are very different from ourselves. If the “the salt” does not get out of “the saltshaker”, our society will know nothing about the love of Jesus. Too often we are distanced from our communities and come across as “judgmental Joe and Julie” Christian. They will never come to know our Lord if we do not throw off our prejudices and inhibitions and “boldly” apply the salt and light of the love of Jesus.
If we become obedient and start allowing Him to place us in uncomfortable, insecure situations ministering to others, we will start enjoying fruit that has a delightful taste. Let’s look at what happens when we start fulfilling the Great Commission stated in Matthew 28:18-20, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- We become conduits of His “almighty authority in heaven and earth” which “has been given to me.” You will experience “all authority” expressed to others and watch His amazing abilities to rescue, change, and bless people.
- “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” may seem out of our comfort zone. The Amplified Bible translates this as “helping people to learn of Jesus, believe in Him, and obey His words.” Let me flesh this out for you. Pam and I support a ministry called “International Friendship Evangelism.” This was started by Dr. TE Koshy who grew up in southern, sunny, warm India. While working on his doctorate at Syracuse University which has one of the highest levels of snow and some of the most bone chilling weather in America, he became lonely and despondent. Koshy realized that other international students felt the same way and led him to open up his small apartment every other week to feed and welcome other internationals making them feel comfortable and cared for. He did not push Jesus on them outside of saying grace in the name of Jesus before the meal was served. Inevitably each of the internationals wanted to know why he sacrificially opened up his little apartment to them. This allowed Koshy to tell them the story of Jesus. From these loving, welcoming meals, a powerful, impactful ministry to international students was born and continues to feed 125+ international students at Syracuse University Do you have the ability to cook? If you can but don’t feel comfortable entertaining others, party up with another believer who enjoys hosting others. If you are a sports fanatic, invite a nonbeliever to watch a game with you and get to know him/her. Coaching is another way of building solid relationships leading to the opportunity to invite folks to church. Invite the children of unbelievers or unchurched in your neighborhood to Vacation Bible School. One of Pam’s cousins and her husband are beginning to have interest in church as a result of their kids’ involvement. The possibilities and ways are endless. Start today patiently loving and welcoming others in your own way.
- Then, you will start seeing the fruit. You will observe these dear new friends become disciples, baptized, and taught to obey God’s commands.
- You reproduce yourself. 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” What a joy!
Get out where the fruit is!