Thursday, March 18, 2010

Walking as Jesus Walked

Jesus withdrew regularly for prayer, but he was found most often among the people. Several years ago as I was watching a film about Jesus, I was struck by how he mingled openly with people. He walked the dusty roads, entered into homes, crossed through Samaria, entered the Temple courts, and interacted with people everywhere. He appeared comfortable in every type of venue. As he spent time with people, he was exposed to every vice, need, and problem of humankind.

The greatest challenge for the church today is to get out among people. You might respond, “What do you mean? Aren’t church folks people?” Yes, but they tend to prefer one another’s company and fail to see the needs of those outside their doors. They don’t fully engage with the world.

I must admit that at this time of the year, many church members are venturing outside their doors. In some states, churches are doing door to door visitation and leaving packets inviting strangers to church. Spring is the time that many church groups go on mission trips or engage in community mission projects on the weekend. Some of these efforts will actually lead unchurched individuals to check out the church for the first time and will certainly enhance the churches’ reputations.

I think there is an even more important byproduct to such activities, however. When we do these things, we often find ourselves on streets we don’t usually walk or in neighborhoods we often avoid. We come into contact with people whose needs are both like and unlike ours. In sum, we see what the world is really like! When we do that, we are changed.

We need to do more “walking the roads” because we serve a Savior who did this every day. He was out among all kinds of people. Would he be surprised that his followers are not?

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