Rev. Dennis Hill
We are invited by Christ when he states in Matthew 11, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30 NRS). I am convinced Christ could have stopped at the word “all.”
When I was growing up, I thought that only people like me were in God’s good grace, and that all others were not going to heaven. Imagine my surprise while attending classes at Wartburg Seminary (an ELCA supported school) upon discovering the idea that God really did mean “all” which came clearly into focus. That Red and Yellow, Black, and White, all were precious in his sight really meant what the old song said. Like me, others would not know that “all” meant “all” unless they were told and given a personal invitation. To get the Word out and let others know that Christ beckons all to come to him. This should be one of our primary task to be Christ-like, to know that we are saved to help save somebody else. It is very important that we share our biblical story. By sharing the biblical story it becomes our own and it affirms the story to the hearer.
This “story-tell” should be a regular event, a faith practice of very person who declares that they belong to Christ. If one were to look at the ELCA website under Seven Faith Practices to guide our discipleship: invite is listed first before pray, study, worship, give, encourage, and serve. It might be arbitrary, but it is noteworthy to realize that if we are to grow the church, it becomes necessary for us to invite others. Webster defines invite as: “to request the presence or participation of in a kindly, courteous, or complimentary way.” We are to find similar ways to appeal to others to participate with us in sharing the gospel of Christ. Especially all that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens. Have you invited anyone to church or to Christ lately?