Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Chain

And if you don't love me now, you will never love me again. I can still hear you saying, you would never break, you would never break the chain. - The Chain, Fleetwood Mac

Reaching the world with the gospel is an insurmountable task, too distant and detached for most of us. Christ commanded us to do it, we don't know how to do it, so we compromise. We give money to missionaries to go and fulfill our commission for us, but we know that there is also a Jerusalem and a Samaria that need to be reached. Even reaching our communities is too large. We talk about it again and again. Many of us get past talking and begin to pray, but almost none of us actually go and do it. There is a way, a way to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, a way that all of us can follow. We can reach the world by reaching one. There is one person in each of our lives that we can pray for. There is one we can intentionally love. There is one we can invite to church. There is one we can share Christ with.

Eight weeks ago over 160 people sitting in our church committed themselves to do that very thing; to love one person for one year with the love of Jesus Christ. Praying, befriending, inviting, sharing. And even that task can seem insurmountable. How do we do even that?

In south Louisiana, the average person has heard the gospel eighteen (18) times before he believes. That does not mean that the first, or second, or 17th sharing of the gospel was ineffective. It means that all of those gospel presentations were necessary links in the chain to get to the 18th time. Every sharing was an act of love, every prayer offered, every invitation, a link in the chain God would use to bring them to Himself.

The answer to the question of how we actually love one person for a year who is lost or unchurched, the answer to the question of how we help anyone follow Jesus is simply this. Love them, tell them, one link at a time, but don't stop. Every link is necessary.

There is one essential quality or condition of the heart that will enable you not to break the chain. It is the love of God in your heart for others. "Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." (John 13:1) His love for His Father and His love for us empowered Him to take every step He had taken and every painful step he would take with them and for them. And, He did not quit loving them (that's us), even on the cross.

Love them to the end, even if you are not the one who is there when the last link is forged. Don't break the chain.