As leaders, besides wrongly categorizing our days into ministry and non-ministry segments, we also tend to categorize people. There are the people we relate to on deep level, those we’re just friendly to, and those we typically wouldn’t associate with. Problem is, Jesus didn’t function this way.
Yes, there’s wisdom in not putting ourselves in risky situations—especially when we’re by ourselves. But there are a lot of people we cross paths with who aren’t threatening.
Like the lady I reached out to in the thrift store a month ago.
She readily responded when I initiated a conversation and was eager for prayer by the end. She expressed interested in attending church with me, and we texted back and forth to finalize our plans.
That first Sunday, she wasn’t able to come. I knew our interaction was real, and that God had ministered to a deep place within her spirit. So I invited her again and prayed she would come.
When my husband Ron and I went through the church doors, she was sitting on a bench right inside. She jumped up, gave me a hug, and said to Ron, “Did she tell you our story?”
“Did she tell you our story?”
Think about this with me. If she felt as though I was reaching out to her because I felt sorry for her, or because of her obvious need, or because I viewed her as a project… WE wouldn’t have a story. In fact, she probably would’ve been veiled in shame, and may not have even come to church.
But because of God’s impartial love—that He somehow poured into her heart as I spoke with her—WE had a story! WE shared a God-moment that was mutual. She was struck by the fact that God had heard her cry for help, and sent me. And I was equally awed to witness God at work in her life.
Yes, WE indeed had a story. And more pages have been written as we sat beside each other for the service, spoke with the pastor and a few key women afterwards, and had breakfast together the next day.
1. Pray. Ask God to give you Jesus’ love for other people, and eyes to see them like He does. Keep on knocking, keep on asking, and the door of God’s heart of compassion for others will be opened unto you.
2. Get convicted. There’s no better place than the Word to drive conviction into your bones. The kind of conviction that keeps you from walking right past people all around you. God’s not willing that any perish; I don’t want to be either.
3. Reach out in honor. Speak to others, especially those you’d usually pass by, in the same way you speak with your close friends—with candor, humor, love. Be genuine. Be yourself. Exhibit a sincere interest in their lives.
4. Take the next step. Listen for what that may be as you’re talking. It may simply be to let them know you’ll be praying for them, and following through. Or perhaps they have a practical need that you’re able to fill next time you see them. Or maybe the relationship progresses to the point of meeting for coffee.
Jesus sat with the tax collectors and sinners. He embraced sick people. He didn’t lord it over others, He laid down His life for others so they could receive Him as Lord. As leaders, let’s lay down our lives, our agendas, and our stereotypes, and love people like Jesus does.
“As leaders, let’s lay down our lives, our agendas, and our stereotypes, and love people like Jesus does.”- Lisa Hosler
How is God stirring a passion in you for interacting with others you wouldn’t normally reach out to? Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.