The King's Strategy
In Matthew’s gospel Jesus gives a parable that describes the process of building the kingdom. Jesus chooses his words carefully and deliberately.
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, “Tell those who are invited, ‘See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’” But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business…Then he said to his servants, “The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.” And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests (Matthew 22:2-5, 8-10).
There are two operative words in this parable that Jesus uses, “Come” and “Go”. The king adds to his first command of “come to” with a “go to” strategy. Both strategies are required to build God’s kingdom.
When we invite people to “come to” church we want them to enjoy their experience. We want them to be surprised by the quality and authenticity of what our church offers. We want them to experience teaching that is practical, music that is excellent, a children’s ministry they can hardly pull their kids away from and a youth group their teenager loves. They should be left mumbling the words of the queen of Sheba and singing the church’s praises, “I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me…you have far exceeded the report I heard.”
(1 Kings 10:7).
But if we, as Christ’s church, rely only on inviting we will not be reaching all we could be reaching. We need to strategize on how to “go to” as much as we do “come to”. We need to invest in our neighbors and friends as well as invite them.
Jesus modeled this type of relational investment. He sees Zacchaeus up in a tree, stops what he is doing and arranges to have a dinner get-together. Jesus joined all of Matthew’s tax collector friends for a dinner party at Matthew’s house. And it is in the context of these relationships that Jesus presents the transformational truth of the gospel.
So let me give you the First Free challenge for 2019: Invest and Invite. Invest in a relationship with someone who is not a believer. On a regular basis, leave the huddle of close Christian fellowship, take some risks and “go out” and spend time with non-churched people. This will mean reaching out in the neighborhood, inviting a neighbor over for dinner, golfing with those at work who don’t know Christ. We have to “go out.”
Next, invite. In Romans 10:14 Paul writes, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” Our unbelieving friends have got to hear. Invite them to an appropriate program here at First Free – MOPS, or VBC, or Sunday morning or to your small group. Someone has got to invite them to “come to” Christ.
Will you, this next year, make a commitment to “Invest and Invite”? Will you follow the strategy of the king?