“And he [the King] said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests” (Matthew 22.8-9 NLT).
It had been about ten months since my last hair appointment, so I scheduled a trim with layers about an hour before my date night with my husband. I felt particularly clever because I didn’t have to fix my hair for the date. I walked into the salon with the same ponytail I wore to my morning work out and walked out with beautifully styled hair!
The young lady who styled my hair was super sweet, and my radar was on for any opening to talk about Christ, church or the Bible. I try to follow the Holy Spirit when opening up about my relationship with God because one word can totally turn someone away from the Christ I’m presenting. I know that I’ve got to reach people where they’re at, not where I’m at.
I asked the young lady many questions, genuinely interested in her life and design. I revealed a lot about myself and tried to encourage her with any wisdom I thought might apply to her life. I found out that she was single, and I could tell she really wanted to meet a nice guy. And there is was…my tiny drop of a lead into the all encompassing ocean of Christ!
“Did you know that my church is the biggest meeting place for singles in the city?” I asked.
“Really! Wow, I need to go to your church! Where do you go?” she asked.
And there I had it: A tiny gateway into God.
Now, I know that this doesn’t sound super spiritual, but what if she goes to church looking for a man and finds Jesus? What I’ve learned is that God fills me with His wisdom, so the Holy Spirit can pick and choose what I say depending on WHO I’m talking to. At first, God may use people’s selfishness to bring them into relationship with Him; but as they become stronger in their faith, He will begin to use their sacrifice to draw them into His likeness.
Jesus describes the Kingdom of God like a wedding feast in Matthew 22, and the King sent His servants out to invite EVERYONE they could find! I am one of the King’s servants, and I need to use every tactic I have in my arsenal to get people into the Kingdom of God. I must do my best to size up each person and entice him/her to join the feast with anything that piques his/her interest. As long as I stay under the authority of the Holy Spirit and the Bible, I can do whatever it takes to fill God’s banquet halls.
“They are serving the best food at this banquet! You don’t want to miss this dinner!”
“There will be some pretty famous people at this banquet! You need to see what they are wearing!”
“They are giving away gold at this banquet! You could buy yourself a new coat!”
“There are so many intellects at this banquet! You’ll rub elbows with the greatest minds of our day!”
“The King of this banquet is totally awesome! He’ll make you feel like a thousand bucks!”
“People are getting healed at this banquet! You can find relief from your pain!”
“There is going to be some crazy entertainment at this banquet! You’ll love the music!”
“The Creator of the Universe is hosting this banquet! He’ll tell you what life is truly about!”
The servants’ sole purpose was to use their God-given passions to creatively find ways to bring people to the feast where they will meet the King face-to-face. Since the King sent out many different servants, they will each reach people in distinct and unique ways. The King gave all the servants a specific vision, so they could find and influence a certain population of people to celebrate the union of Christ and Church in the banquet halls of heaven for eternity!
What irritates me most about this principle of reaching the lost is when the King’s servants start ridiculing each other about their methods of bringing people to the feast. I’ve read many books written by a wide range of Christian leaders, and they all have a heart to reach people. However, they all have their own reaching-the-lost vision because God has a certain group of people He specifically wants them to invite. We confuse potential wedding guests when we fight over different methods of getting them to the King’s table.
So before we judge a person’s or a ministry’s vision of how to reach the lost, we should look at their fruit. Are they bringing people to the feast? Are people meeting the King face-to-face? Are people entering the feast by the only door, Christ? We might not understand their methods or relate to the people they are reaching, but we can certainly cheer them on! When God’s people put aside their differences and unite for the cause of Christ, the world will have no choice but to listen to the Good News that we are preaching.
“Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9.19-23 NLT) (emphasis added).