Sheep outside the fold

I have been inward looking for much of my Christian life.

I spend much more time with Christian friends than I do with others.

It is good to love other believers – the scriptures say that people will know we are followers of Jesus by our love for one another.  But, Jesus never spent all his time in the synagogue – he went out and met people where they lived.

Just before his ascension to heaven, Jesus asked us to go and make disciples of all nations.  He clearly meant that we are to make disciples the way he did.

How did he do that?  He brought along some followers as he went out into the world around him, preaching the good news and healing people.

These followers – particularly 12 close ones – learned about Jesus’ mission as they listened to him and watched him in action with large crowds almost every day.  They joined him as he had dinner with people who were very unpopular with the religious elite of the day – tax collectors, prostitutes, and heavy drinkers.

My wife and I have always had some connection with our neighbours.  But, since our retirement, we have become much more intimately involved with them.

I am becoming more conscious that God is asking me – and other believers – to love other people in every way, both in word and deed.  We are to be “ambassadors” for Jesus Christ, as the apostle Paul says.

God wants a close relationship with everyone – through Jesus Christ, his son.  As Jesus is the shepherd, he wants everyone to be in the sheepfold under his care.

I believe God is calling me and other believers to venture outside our church walls and spend a lot of time with other people, just as Jesus did.

Those who are not believers will judge me and other believers by our actions as much as by our words.  They want to see that we care for them as people – not just as potential church members.

I believe this.  Now, I must live it.

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