Thursday, January 14, 2016

Engagement Ministry (3 of 3)

“Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  But with God everything is possible.’”  Matthew 19:26 (NLT)

Jesus looked at them intently!  Who did He look at intently?  The disciples—when they asked Him the very important question, “Who in the world can be saved?”

Intently!  Jesus was engaged (and I don’t mean the diamond ring kind of engagement!)  Even though His short life was jam packed and He was busy healing and teaching and dealing with pesky religious people, He still engaged His disciples when He talked to them.  He stopped.  He looked.  He listened.

In Matthew’s account of Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law, (can you imagine what it would have been like to be Peter’s wife???) scripture tells us that when Jesus saw His mother-in-law…He touched her.  (Matthew 8:14-15 NASB).  Both seeing and touching indicate that Jesus was engaged!

There are many other accounts in scripture where we see Jesus touching, seeing, looking, stopping, etc.  He was engaged with every person He encountered….not just those He was related to or those who He was friends with.  He engaged strangers too.

My challenge is for us to engage everyone we come in contact with.  Not just those I mentioned in the last two posts:  our spouses, our children, our God and our friends….but every single person that crosses or parallels our paths.  Every.Single.Person!!  Is that asking way too much??

What does that mean?  That means looking and smiling at the cashier.  That means speaking to the person behind the counter.  That means making eye contact with the people you pass in the halls at work or school or church.  That means gently and lovingly squeezing the arm of that grumpy, bitter old woman at church who NEVER smiles!! 

I could be totally wrong here but I am thinking we should impact and engage every single person we encounter at work, at the gym, at the store, everywhere!  After all….Jesus said we are to let our lights shine before men so that they will see our good works and glorify God in heaven!!  (Matthew 5:16)  What better way to shine than through a sincere smile or word of affirmation?

Wow!!  Is this impossible?  Is it crazy?  I don’t know!!!  Truthfully, I really, really, REALLY want to do this every day.  I actually would like to think that I do this every single day.  Today, I listened to a total stranger tell me about her sick mom who she has been out of state taking care of her for the better part of a year.  She mentioned how hard it was because she was never touched that entire time….I gave her a hug.  A touch.

You can smile and wave as you pass people in the car or on your walk or jog.  It doesn’t require time or work…just making a commitment to be engaged.  Sometimes people go their entire day or week or life with no one to encourage them or give them a smile.  We can do that!!  BUT it will require us to be focused.  Not distracted or preoccupied.

I might even call this the engagement ministry!!  Ha!  Try it….for an entire day….and let me know what happens!  You might not ever know what happens to that person you engage with your smile or your words of encouragement, and that is OK.  My guess is that it will also impact you and I’d love to hear about it!!

Yeah, so I guess the title of this post could be misleading…..since I’m not speaking of the diamond ring kind of engagement!!  Oh well…..Happy engaging!

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