“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."
The path to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ is one marked by difficulty and persecution. It is characterized by great cost. "The way is hard that leads to life." It is no wonder that Jesus would declare, "those who find it are few." But the somewhat troubling news found in his saying is not limited to the way of life. For the way to destruction - the destruction of real people, men and women, boys and girls - is easy. It is wide. And "those who enter by it are many."
Much could be said, but let me draw out at least this implication: Jesus sets before you some obstacles to the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ. So while it is troubling that the path to destruction is broad and easy, and the path to life narrow and hard, now you know. You are not ignorant of the difficulty and nature of your mission to help people find the way off one path and onto another.
I believe this should drive us to think about how to reach out to people who don't know Jesus Christ. Because we should care - seriously! - about people headed down a path away from life and toward destruction. And this is exactly what Thomas Weaver has recently written about over at The Resurgence. He wants to help us get into the head of a non-Christian as we invite them to the place where they can hear and see Jesus - the local church. So please, read and ponder, and thoughtfully invite and bring someone to church this Sunday.
Okay I’m not a Christian, but I’ve finally made the decision to come to your church this Sunday. Don’t expect much from me though. If something comes up I might not, but right now I’m planning on it. I feel like I need to go, but I’m not sure why. I want to tell you a few things about myself before you meet me.
1. I’M NOT GOING TO UNDERSTAND RELIGIOUS LANGUAGE OR PHRASES SO BE AWARE OF THAT WHEN WE TALK.
I don’t understand slain in the spirit, God is moving in me, covered in the blood, I need to die to self, you just need to be in the Word, what you need is a new life, etc. If we have conversation filled with religious talk, I’m probably not going to understand half of the words...and maybe think you’re a little crazy.
2. WHEN YOU ASK ME HOW I’M DOING, KNOW THAT I DON’T TRUST YOU.
I’m probably going to lie and tell you I’m fine. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you; it’s just that I come from some pain and am not sure if I trust you yet. How about you tell me your story first? If I like you and get the vibe that you’re not trying to capture my soul or anything, I’ll tell you mine.
3. I’VE GOT PRETTY ROUGH LANGUAGE AND I CAN BE BITTER AND ANGRY ABOUT SOME THINGS.
If I sense in you a mindset of superiority, I’m out. If you are just waiting for your turn to talk instead of truly listening to me, I’m not going to be interested. Don’t expect me to be exactly like you.
4. DON’T MAKE A BIG DEAL OF INTRODUCING ME TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW.
I understand a couple of people, but please; don’t set up a welcoming line. I’m just there to check it out; I need a bit of space.
5. I’M GOING TO BE LOOKING FOR GENUINE INTEREST IN ME.
I don’t want to feel like your personal salvation project or be a notch on your “I saved one” belt. If this Jesus is who you say he is, then I’m looking forward to seeing him in you. That’s how it works, right?
6. I’M GOING TO HAVE QUESTIONS.
I need truth, not your preferences or your religion, so can you just tell me what the Bible says?
7. I NEED TO FEEL WELCOMED.
Is there a time limit or something on my visit before I’m supposed to feel unwelcomed? I mean, I’ve been to other churches and there seemed to be a push for me to make up my mind or something. How long until I’m unwelcomed?
Thanks for hearing me out. I’m pretty sure I’m going to come this Sunday. But I might not.