Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lent: Nathanael

John 1:45-51
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What made it so clear to Nathanael so quickly that Jesus was the Son of God? Surely it wasn't just where Nathanael was when Philip found him, but what he was doing there. Obviously there is more to Nathanael's background than we are given in this account. There were things he was praying about or meditating on that no one besides him and God could have known. Things that Philip could not have known when he invited Nathanael to come and see Jesus. Things that Jesus could not have known unless He was indeed the Son of God and King of Israel.
When we approach someone to "come and see" Jesus, we don't know everything leading up to their acceptance or refusal of our invitation. Depending on our relationship, we may think we know where that person is at spiritually and what they are ready for in terms of a personal encounter with the Lord. Yet God may be at work in their hearts in ways we cannot imagine, preparing them to receive Him, and our invitation is His means to bring that person into the encounter He has prepared them for.
So what is taking place in your life that you can invite someone to? Are you going on a retreat? Do you encounter the Lord regularly at church? Is there a social event among Christians you know taking place soon? Do you have enough room at your dinner table to invite someone over, or perhaps two couples or families, one Christian and one that you would love to see become Christian? The next step is to invite someone: a family member, a coworker, a neighbor, someone at your church that you only slightly know, an acquaintance you bump into regularly who could easily become a friend given the opportunity. The worst that could happen is that they say no. But then you have an invitation already prepared to give to another friend on your list. Move on to the next person (this time--you can return later to extend another invitation in another month or 5) and keep inviting. Make a goal for yourself: maybe once a month you will at least have a guest at your dinner table. Let the Lord use you and be ready to be amazed at the results you see.
This is something that my husband excels at and I fall into being his main support person. Not a bad place to be (support those who are already inviting guests!), but I need to be open to inviting people myself, not just welcoming those that he invites. If you are also a support person for someone who is actively inviting others to come and see, I think there really is less pressure for you to change your role. But answer two questions honestly first: 1) Are you truly supporting them well? Could you do better--perhaps follow up with the guests you met at church last week by inviting them over to your home for a meal? 2) If the Lord asks you to invite someone new, are you willing to do so? Are there opportunities that you are avoiding, pretending that your support of another evangelist lets you off the hook for being one yourself? It's not enough for me to host the meals my husband invites guests to and sit with those he brings to prayer meetings and welcome those he brings into our lives and our activities. I need to become more active in building those relationships outside of the opportunities he drops into my lap and willing to invite others I interact with more regularly than he does.

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