Listen to this week’s Devotional here.
Author: Linda Kowatch
Lately God has been challenging me to look more closely at how Jesus interacted with people. While that isn’t anything new, the focus has been on asking the question, “How did Jesus invite people to join or become more involved?” So, I have been reading the gospels with that question in mind.
I found that there was no “magical” answer, but what I did find was that Jesus simply modelled engaging others through relationship. He engaged others in multiple ways in his daily life. Sometimes Jesus took the initiative and made a request, “Come, follow me.” Or “Will you give me a drink?” After that initiation, a conversation would take place. Sometimes another person initiated the conversation and Jesus responded. There were times when a third party started a conversation and Jesus would reply which led to a group discussion. I also read that when someone initiated conversation with Jesus, he stopped what he was doing, and he interacted with that person. While this isn’t magical, it seems simple.
Two weeks-ago I had the opportunity to the attend the Annual Youth & Family Fall Gathering. We met at McIntosh Lake in Longmont to spend time together eating pizza, throwing the frisbee, talking, kayaking and paddleboarding. At that gathering I saw people engaging with one another. They followed the example of Christ. Did it happen automatically? No. First, people arrived at the park. They showed up. They were intentional and stopped their busy lives and attended an event to be with other people that day. Secondly, they took risks and started talking to one another. One person initiated a conversation, and another responded. I took a huge risk and invited two highschoolers to get up and throw the frisbee with me. I must admit, I feared rejection. Guess what? They said, “Sure.” That’s a pretty positive response from high schoolers. We threw the frisbee together and laughed. We weren’t good at it as our “world record” was only 5 consecutive catches, but we had fun and more conversations followed.
That day I witnessed parents asking their children if they wanted to kayak. Some participated reluctantly and others were more enthusiastic. Later the students were kayaking with one another. One first-time paddleboarder even asked her parents if she could get a paddleboard. She was hooked! How did that happen? Her parents modelled engagement, she engaged and now she has found a new joy in life.
Jesus lived his life by engaging in relationship with people. He initiated conversations with others. He took the risk of being rejected. We all know that because of the gospel message Jesus preached, he was rejected by those in power. But Jesus continued and invited those who would listen. He responded when others engage him. He was intentional in stopping his busy life to really talk with people. How often do I get caught up in my To Do List that I don’t stop and really talk to people? Maybe I did find a magical answer to my original question. Maybe the “magic” is relationship.
Loving God, You have invited me into relationship with you. When I am willing to engage with you through worship, learning, fellowship, and service; my relationship with you continues to grow and change. It is then that I can invite others to join or become more involved. Amen.