I was at a local Christian book store today looking at brand new Bibles. I opened one and discovered that someone had stuck a little card on which was printed an inspirational verse.......and......wait for it:
..........................................................an advertisement for a church.
I am SO SICK of how some of these places market themselves like some common business. (I believe our Lord is sick of it too.)
Do we really believe Jesus did this? Do we think He put out billboards, stuffed His business card in unsuspecting places, hustled up crowds?
He did something radical: He trusted His Father in heaven to bring the people to Him that Father wanted Him to meet.
As He left, as reported in Matthew 20:18-20, He told us to do the same as He did:
"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded
you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen."
We don't need to approach the world as a business to bring people to Jesus anymore than He did.
Jesus simply went about and as He was going He drew men to Himself. He didn't need to market Himself.
He simply trusted His Father.
He said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." (John 12:32)
John tells us that when He said that He was speaking of how He would die on the Cross (John 12:33)
Well, that happened. He WAS lifted up.
He is STILL trying to draw men to Himself - THROUGH Christians who trust Him (and do not trust the systems of the world - like advertizing.)
We are living in a time when people are marketed constantly by everyone for everything - from beer and cellphones to "church".
They know what it feels like to be hustled. They are cynical and tired of being used.
One of my favorite writers (Dr. Neil Cole) points out something true when he speaks of the marketing practices many congregations use in the name of a Jesus who would never use those:
"What you draw them with is what you will draw them to."
If what we are offering them is a style of a subset of the body of Christ....and not simply Jesus Himself....whenever they tire of the bait we dangle before them to hustle them to our functions...they will wander
If we come to them to GIVE in the manner Jesus lived His life...if we function like He did, simply....trusting in His Father....we will draw them to our King...and not to ourselves.
They may someday wander away from us....or, better yet, follow Jesus to His intentions for them - but they will NEVER wander from Jesus.
I was tempted to contact the man who left his card in that bible (and probably dozens of other ones in that store) and encourage him to simply trust Jesus....instead of cheesy marketing schemes.
The people who need Him for salvation know they are being hustled to be used. They will most likely do what I did with that card: throw it away.
Let's resolve to doing a better job of representing our King...by living like He did...and NOT like the world.
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus ends with a promise that He will remain with believers. He said something very similar in John 14:
"If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:15-17)
Shortly after Jesus gave the Great Commission the promised Holy Spirit came to dwell in all Christians.
If you are born again...He lives in you. This is the Spirit of CHRIST Himself!
We don't need earthly marketing schemes.
Let's resist the temptation to depend on anything but HIM.