I was eating with a friend and the subject of Here for You came up during our conversation. We talked about the creativity and quality of the commercials, the great response to the Super Bowl, Final Four and digital components, and the way we were using the campaign to reach people who have never set foot in a Louisiana Baptist Church. My friend said, “I hope it goes well because I know how important Here for You is to you.” Their sentiments and wishes were greatly appreciated – but as I pondered that comment over the next several days I thought, “Here for You is not about me. It’s not for me. I know where I’m going. I have a relationship with Jesus. Here for You is about them.”
Them. Let that sink in for a few seconds … Here for You is about them…
In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren begins with this statement, “It’s not about you.”
In our self-focused, narcissistic culture this truth often gets lost. It’s not about us, it’s about them.
As was their practice, the Pharisees were trying to trick Jesus. Whoever drew the short straw that day was tasked with their latest attempt. He confidently approached Jesus and blurted out his question. “What is the greatest commandment?” Without hesitation Jesus responded “to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength” and before the Pharisee could insert his cleverly-devised follow up question, Jesus continued “and the second one is like it – love your neighbors (them) as you love yourself.”
Think about that for a moment – Jesus listed them (your neighbor) number two, right behind loving God. In politics and sports it’s often “us” versus “them.” But Jesus is clear, the church, “we,” need to make loving and reaching them a priority.
Jesus always kept the focus on THEM!
- He came to seek and to save that which was lost – i.e. them
- When He saw them (the crowds) He had compassion on them.
- For God so loved the world (them) that He gave his only son …
- Go into all of the world and make disciples of all nations – them.
- And you will be my witnesses to – them!
Even as He was dying on a cruel Roman cross, He thought about them– “Father forgive them for they do not realize what they are doing.”
Somewhere during this 2,000 plus year journey we’ve subtly, but consistently transitioned our focus from them to us (we):
- We don’t like the music
- We don’t agree with a certain decision
- We don’t like the schedule change
- We don’t like what the pastor did/didn’t do.
- We don’t like the temperature in the building
The “we” list is “we-ally long” – pardon the pun.
Don’t misunderstand, we know about them. Them is a topic of frequent dialogue within the walls of the church.
- We talk about them
- We research them
- We’ll occasionally pray for them
- We’ll even give money every now and then to help reach them
But we rarely go get them– even though Jesus said the fields are full of them.
What’s wrong with them? Or – should the question be what’s wrong with us?
Have we left our first love? Do we not believe Jesus? What keeps us from obeying Jesus? Are we afraid of them?
I’m not sure, but I do know this – Jesus loves them and we’re called to follow His example.
Them is so important that in one of his parables Jesus instructed us not once, not twice, but three different times to go into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in (Luke 14).
Understand this, them is one the reasons you’re still here – why we’re still here. As long as Jesus delays His return, we have the opportunity, the responsibility and the assignment to reach them.
You can begin reaching them by regularly praying for those you pass every day even though you may never meet. You can begin reaching them today by going to HereforYou.org and sharing your favorite Here for You commercial via social media. You can begin to reach them by identifying your “one.”
No matter your age, health, experience, vocation or location, there is something you can do to reach them– and them is counting on us!
“How can they hear unless someone tells them? Romans 10:14
This Christmas let’s offer people something that will last beyond the holidays …