This past weekend, we had a Retreat for leaders of the Leadership Team of the women’s ministry at our church. Toward the end of our time, we were focusing in on some goals. We broke into groups of 2 and studied some of the different passages of Jesus calling His disciples.
The one my partner and I studied was the passage in John 1:43-51. One of the things we were struck by was the simplicity of Philip’s message to Nathanael: “Come and see.” He didn’t get into a debate. He just told Nathanael to come and see for himself. When he did, he interacted with Jesus, believed and followed Jesus too!So often, we feel we have to do a lot of explaining for Jesus when all we need to do is help people come and meet Him! Click To Tweet
So often, we feel we have to do a lot of explaining for Jesus when all we need to do is help people come and meet Him! When they get to know Him, they will find out all they need to know! It’s the difference between knowing Him and knowing about Him. Our job is to introduce people to Jesus. We don’t necessarily have to do all the conversation and intervening work after that. We need to encourage our friends to follow Jesus, not us. They need to interact with Jesus through His Word, prayer and involvement in a local, Bible believing church. We will be involved in some way for sure, but we don’t have to hover. GOD is powerful. He can manage this. We need to love them, but we don’t need to run interference for GOD.
That is context for today. As we discussed how that simple message would affect the way we would plan for our women, it dawned on me that I often make it way more complicated. I even try to fool myself that I can make a clever program that will fool women to come and surprise them with the Gospel as it applies to their growth in grace. I’m not sure that’s the way it should work.
Our job is to introduce them to Jesus so they move further in their relationship with Him than they are now. They need to become aware of their thirstiness. They may even need to start a relationship with Him.
Rather than distract them from their thirst, we need to make sure they are noticing the deep thirst they have. It happens when for Christians and non-Christians. We get dry and parched for a variety of reasons. We want them to also realize how wonderful Jesus, the Water of Life is as well. His value is greater than some of the things they are spending their time on now. But they are the ones who have to figure it out! We can’t do it for them.
The truth is that we need to show them how satisfying Jesus is! He described Himself as Living Water. Think of the power of that metaphor! Imagine yourself as someone in a desert who is thirsty. You will give up anything for a glass of water! I realize that the excuses offered for why women aren’t involved in Bible studies or prayer groups has more to do with their lack of thirst or their unawareness of it than it does the stated reasons they offer.Imagine yourself as someone who is thirsty. You will give up anything for a glass of water! Click To Tweet
Maybe our approach is wrong. Maybe we need to remind them that we have living water for their thirsty souls. Maybe not in precisely those words, but understanding that concept.
Maybe our prayers for them need to have more to do with praying for GOD to make them thirsty rather than for them to come in big numbers! Yes, we want to reach more women for sure. But we want women who are spiritually thirsty, not those who are there to warm a seat that we beg and cajole to come!
I’m glad to invite women. It tells them we want them there. That is not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about those who we invite and manipulate to get there. I don’t do that. I try to figure out where they are. I invite them in as personal a way as I can based on what comes across as their need. I may even invite them more than once. But I also let it go when it is clear they aren’t interested. Maybe the time isn’t right. I don’t know. But if they aren’t interested, it won’t benefit anyone.
Are we truly aware of Jesus’ ability to quench that soul craving thirst that is deep within us? Do we believe it? Then we need to invite our friends and neighbors to come and meet Jesus. Maybe it will be in our home in a Bible study, or for a meal. Maybe it will be in a group at church or worship. I don’t know. I do know I loved this passage. The picture it paints of the thirsty person coming to the fountain of water for all that she wants to drink…and it is offered freely! That I love.
“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:1-9 ESV
And this one too!
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
The one who conquers will have this heritage,
and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Revelation 21:5-7 ESV