At home on a Saturday afternoon watching college football. In a grocery store line, purchasing food for the coming week. Shopping in a mall for some new clothes. Stopping to pump gas in your car. Out eating at a local restaurant. Waiting in a row of seats at the DMV to renew a license or a utilities company to pay a bill. All these are activities we engage in regularly and yet so often, never engage anyone else around us while doing so. We live in an isolated society, where to say hi to passerby is almost an atrocity of the highest order. You typically get strange stares or even a nasty look if you smile at someone or actually say… ‘hello’. It’s an oddity to talk to others around us we don’t know. Now I know there are the few extroverts out there who seemingly talk to everyone but, for the majority of the rest of us-we stay silent.
Silence however, is not an instruction in the Bible-not when it comes to us taking on the burden of the great commission. Jesus left us with the words ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation’ and ‘Go, make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.’ Not sure how we can be silent and ‘preach’ and ‘teach’ with our mouths sealed shut and our heads turned from others. It just doesn’t really work very well. No, Jesus called us to open up our mouths and to open up our hearts to the entire world. That starts with those immediately around us-those we come into contact with on a daily basis. It calls for us to ENGAGE.
How many around us are hurting internally and we never know? How many are going through the pangs of divorce and tell no one? How many are dealing with depression and thoughts of suicide but never share? How many are sick with disease and just keep it to themselves?
Now, how many of us ever ask any of these hurting people about these things? How many of us venture to step into their worlds to discuss such things? How many of us truly get out of our own little comfort zone of daily routine, to interrupt the Heavens and minister life to those dealing with hurt, divorce, sickness, depression, and all sorts of other pains we as humans face in this life???
Jesus calls us to do so. He calls us to lay ourselves down and reach others. He calls us to Him, to go reach others for Him. He calls us to engage.
Let’s take a look at the definition of the word ‘engage’:
occupy, attract, or involve (someone’s interest or attention)
participate or become involved in.
Based on these definitions, if we are born again, disciples of Jesus, restored to the Father in relationship, having our sins cleansed, the peace of God within, empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the miraculous, why would we keep silent? Why wouldn’t we engage? Why wouldn’t we participate or become involved in someone’s life when we have the life of men living in us?? I believe it is outright sin not to engage. Now that statement may anger some but here is the thing…God sent His only Son to die a horrible death for us, to bear our punishment, in order to redeem a sinful mankind back to Himself. If we take the very light He has given us and bury it, doing nothing with it, that is sin. It’s trampling beneath our feet the very blood of Christ that was shed for us. It’s insulting the spirit of grace. It’s treating as unholy the presence of God within-that is dying to get out!!!
Leaving the gym today, I was running late to a business meeting. I had little time to get back to the office and was racing to my car. As I approached my vehicle, a homeless man approached me. He asked if I would buy him something to eat. Not give him money. Buy him something to eat. The man was genuinely starving and by the leanness of his frame, I could tell he hadn’t eaten much lately. I was caught in a quandary. I wanted to help him but also had the responsibility of arriving to the meeting on time for my job. I don’t typically do such but I handed him a $20 dollar bill and prayed with him for maybe 30 seconds. He headed off to Subway next door and I headed to my meeting. I wanted to do more but knew that was all I could do at the moment. Honestly I wept as I drove away because I wanted to love on the guy and share the love of God with Him. But I did what I could. I engaged. The Lord is faithful and will work with what little we have to offer. Goodness, He fed five thousand from a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. The point being, we just need to be available.
We need to engage. We need to touch people’s lives with the life of Jesus. Jesus promised us that ‘He within us is greater than he within the world’ (1 John 4:4). He tells us further in that same chapter of 1 John:
“In this world we are like Him.” (1 John 4:17)
God the Father wants to save people from their sins. He wants to save them so they can be restored unto a relationship with Him. Jesus died for us to bring us back to Him. Yes sin was forgiven but it was forgiven and wiped out because it was in the way of us getting back to the Father. There are millions out there who need a way back to the Father. Jesus is the bridge but you are the one carrying the bridge. Let’s start giving that bridge to others. Don’t keep quiet. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you daily, who needs a touch, who you can pray with, who you can share the Gospel with…who you can ENGAGE.
“And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. 15 Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house.16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.” (Matt 5:14-16/The Voice)