In Romans 10, Paul asks an incredible set of questions that have been launching people into Christ’s mission for their lives for the last 2000 years (almost). He sets the stage with the claim that there is no longer a distinction between the Jew and the Gentile ~ that Jesus is Lord of all.
But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him?
And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him?
And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?
And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?
Sending, telling, hearing, believing…
As I read these words of Paul yesterday, I thought of my own entry into youth ministry. I spent years as a child thinking that Jesus was Lord for the adults, not for us kids. We had too much fun to have while we were still young, I thought. God wasn’t really interested in us until we were adults, right? But early in my teens, I realized, He is Lord of me, too and had a place for me in His Kingdom’s work. I’ve spent the better part of 20 years learning and trying to communicate that message to students. We are sent to tell, so that others can hear and believe. [Tweet “We are sent to tell, so that others can hear and believe.”]
But there are a lot of competing messages for students to sift through. There are so many voices telling them they are their own “lord”, their own authority. So many optional messages for them to buy into. Even in the church, there are often obstacles to young people hearing the truth of God’s love for them and for their peers, as well as His desire for them to join Him on His mission to reconcile all things to Himself. How can they hear this truth?
They can hear when someone who’s been sent to them does the hard work of living a life that tells them more than our words ever could. They can hear when they are actually, honestly loved by the church. They can hear when grace is the hallmark of everything they see us do. You have been sent to the current and the next generations. Will you tell them? Will you model for them a life that’s lived for His lordship so they can see what it means that “Jesus is Lord”?
Getting ready for Easter, I’ve seen a lot of churches encouraging their people to invite their friends and neighbors to services that week. While it’s true that more visitors will be more likely to come to a church’s services that week, and we certainly should be inviting people, I want to push a little harder. Don’t only invite people to a service. Serve them & tell them why. Love them and introduce them to the Light that brings life to all of us.
Let them hear the voice of the one who has sent you, clearly speaking to them…
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters… (Is. 55:1)