Not Them, Not Me, Not Now

By: Greg Aitkens

Galatians 1:16

But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his son to me so that I might preach among the Gentiles…

The other day, I wrote down a list of people who are in my life in some capacity. Some are clients or prospective clients. Some are coworkers. Some are men with whom I play golf or road cycle. Some are family members. Some are professional colleagues or other business folks who are all on my radar. I was praying to the Lord about what it is I am “supposed” to do with the people on this list. Am I to invite them into the Kingdom? Am I to try to be Christ to them? Am I to attempt to influence them in such a way that they might say, “There is a peace and joy about this man that are different. I’d like more of that for myself”?

Some years ago a good friend reminded me of an enduring phrase that has reshaped my life in recent times. The phrase is “It’s about them”. I took this to mean that I AM supposed to invite and pray for and intercede for and have conversations about Jesus with others. I AM called to invite others into the Kingdom by first living it, then building relationships and friendships, and then praying for ALL the folks on the list that Jesus has so generously provided.     

We might say that we are unqualified and unworthy for this kind of work for Jesus. We’d all agree that we are ALL unqualified and unworthy, yet Jesus encourages wants us, in the words of Francis of Assisi, to “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” God sends his Holy Spirit to put the words in our mouths.

We could respond to Jesus with, “Not them, not me, not now. Lord, don’t you know how utterly sinful they are, how they smoke or drink too much or are addicted to whatever, what complete jerks they are? Lord, don’t you know that they reject and ignore you and pretend you don’t even exist? Lord, don’t you know that all they do is chase material wealth and success and status? Lord, don’t you see how angry and unforgiving they are?” Our Lord knows all about all these folks on our list! Yet, Our loving Lord Jesus encourages us to invite them anyway. We move beyond the “not them, not me, not now” syndrome to, “YES, Lord! I will invite these others into your Kingdom here and now.” In fact, we say, Here I am, send me (Isaiah 6:8).  

The Cursillo movement has a saying regarding outreach: “Make a friend, be a friend, and bring a friend to Christ”. The encouragement for all of us today is to remember, “It is about them”.  

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Who is on your list today? Are you inviting them into the Kingdom?