Last week, Billy Graham had a new message, “The Cross”, on TV. During the advertisements of the program, we, as believers, were encouraged to invite our neighbors and non-believers to watch this together. I thought that was a really great idea for “everyone else”. I was actually thinking this as I was walking my dog Ellie in our neighborhood. I thought, “Lord I really hope ‘other people’ will do that. It would be awesome!” I was actually quite proud of myself for remembering to pray for that ministry.
As Ellie and I were walking, I told the Lord that I would pray for my neighbors even though they wouldn’t be coming to my house - you know it would be weird inviting people I didn’t know very well. I also reminded the Lord that I had never really talked to a particular neighbor; in fact, I didn’t even remember her name. But as a person of Godly character I would pray for her too.
Guess what? Yes, the Lord had other plans! “That neighbor” pulled her car up right beside me and started talking (WOW). We were in the road for at least 20 minutes catching up on neighbor stuff. As we parted and Ellie and I continued our walk, I felt the Lord saying, “OK, now you know her name, go and invite YOUR neighbors to YOUR home.” Talk about being hit over the head! So I immediately went home and typed out a little flyer inviting my neighbors to my house to watch Billy Graham. I enticed them with snacks, fun fellowship and a great message. Who could refuse?
I was so torn the day of the broadcast; I went from “What if no one shows up?” to “What if everyone shows up?” Finally, I just left it in the Lord’s hands; after all it was His idea! In the end we had a great time of fellowship with our neighbors who did come. Billy Graham’s message about the Cross was very powerful and I’m so glad we shared it.
Through all of this I did learn 3 things…
1. Be obedient. If the Lord has a plan it will be carried out with or without you. The Lord didn’t need me; all of my neighbors could have watched the program in their own homes. But we would have missed out on the blessing of sharing life with our neighbors.
2. Be open. We don’t get to pick and choose who hears the gospel. The excuse of not knowing a name just didn’t cut with the Lord. Jesus is big enough for everyone and there is always room at the cross.
3. Be ready. When the Lord tells us something we should expect action. I didn’t save the note I put in my neighbors’ mailboxes; so I couldn’t remember if I asked them to call if they were coming or not (note to self for next time!). But snacks were promised and they had to be ready, even if no one came.
We serve a big God who wants a relationship with us, sometimes even in spite of ourselves. We may not always see the Lord’s big picture or know exactly what we are supposed to do in our part of the big scheme of things, but we can rest assured that God knows. If we just seek His face and run hard after Him, we will be blessed and maybe even surprised beyond all measure.
“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.” (Romans 1:5)
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