Compiling our list of needed foods for our Thanksgiving meal outreach, I thought to myself, most of these foods are non-perishable items. Couldn’t people just go to the food bank to get these? They could make the phone call to the local food bank, drive themselves to the pick up location, grab their bag of food, and drive home. Their basic need for food would be met. Done. Easy as that.
Why go to the trouble with this outreach? What can we provide that the food bank may not?
It’s about the relationship. Going to the people’s doors, speaking to them, meeting them in their home, face-to-face. Meeting their families. Talking to them on the phone. Inviting them to church. Welcoming them into our lives.
What’s different with this outreach? The answer is JESUS.
Jesus was relational. He ate with the people. He lived among the people. He spoke to and taught the people. He loved the people. He related to the people.
It’s Jesus that draws people in.
Last night, during our outing in our church neighborhood, one of the men in our group, Rich, met a woman at her home named, Kathy. He offered her a Thanksgiving meal, but he sensed her need was greater.
After leaving her doorstep, a few minutes later, Rich met up with the rest of us, telling us about the woman he had just met. We began praying for her. Seconds after we said, “Amen”, Kathy came back out of her house, walking towards us. She had given my youngest daughter an umbrella to borrow, but wanted to tell her she could just keep the umbrella.
It was more than an umbrella that drew her back to our group. What brought her out of her warm, dry house, into the pouring rain in pursuit of our group? The answer is, Jesus.
She began openly sharing about her need for a Thanksgiving meal as well as difficulties some of her family members are experiencing.
Rich said we’d like to pray for her. Kathy immediately accepted, leaned in, grasped the hands of those of us around her, and lapped up the words spoken to the Father on her behalf.
After the prayer, Rich began to share about Jesus’ love for her and her family. At the mention of the name of Jesus, Kathy not only leaned in closer, but actually physically took several steps closer. Jesus was drawing her in.
Drawn in just like the disciples who were told to, “Follow me” and then dropped everything and followed.
Drawn in like the woman in the crowd with the bleeding disorder desiring to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.
Drawn in like the friends lowering the paralytic man through the roof to be near Jesus and receive healing.
Drawn in like Peter being willing to step out of the boat onto the water to be near Jesus.
What about you?
Do you know about Jesus’ love for you? Do you hear Him calling your name, drawing you in, maybe for the first time? Or, maybe you have forgotten…letting time and space come between you and your Creator.
Let today be the day you set aside whatever is holding you back and allow Jesus to draw you in.
The answer is Jesus.
Thank you, Jesus. Your love is powerful. At the mention of your name, darkness hides and your goodness prevails.