Go out to where they are

And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.” Luke 14:23

Here Jesus tells the story of a man who once gave a great banquet and invited many people to attend.  After everything was ready, he sent his servant to tell those he had invited that the banquet was  set and they should come and enjoy.  However, everyone of them had an excuse as to why they could not come.  So the master sent his servant into the highways and hedges to invite and compel them to come.  This is a very familiar story, but one of great importance.  The idea of the highways and hedges is to go to the places you normally would not go and to the people you would not normally go to.  Are you willing to go where the Lord takes you no matter where and to whom that is?First, let us look at who the master was sending his servant to.  It is important to know that these were not the popular people.  These were the ones the Pharisees considered unclean and cursed.  These were the poor, disabled, uncouth, the ones nobody wanted to associate with.  Many no doubt would never go into these areas, for if anyone saw them they would be humiliated to be among those people.  For many, they were just too good to associate with such as these.  However, Jesus was telling His listeners that He was sent to reach these as well, and thus they were also to reach out to them.  We should not focus on those who can make us look good, or can return the favor.  Several verses back Jesus essentially said as such.  “He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14.  Our reason to minister to anyone should be to honor Christ, help the lost find salvation, and to bless our brothers and sisters with our love, help and encouragement.  Our primary motivation must be love; for God, our fellow Christians, and the lost.  Not gain for ourselves.

So, if God calls you to go to the poorer parts of town to minister, would you go?  What if He desires to send you to a scary part of the city?  If you are hesitant, ask yourself why.  I will be the first to say I have not always thought this way.  However, in the forty years since I became a Christian God has helped me to understand many things, and one of those things is that no one is unworthy to hear the message of the gospel.  Everyone should be given the opportunity to hear that God loves them and sent His Son to pay the penalty for their sins.  If God gives us the opportunity to minister to people, we should do everything we can to make it happen.  What a privilege it is to be used by the infinite, personal God who loves us all beyond understanding.  If God calls us to go somewhere or meet someone, do you think He will not be there with you?  In fact, Paul says He will not only be there, but He will work through us.  He wrote, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Php 2:13.  No matter where He sends us, He will be right there.  And whatever happens, He is in control.

But most important is what Paul wrote earlier in the chapter.  “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Php 2:3  God wants us to live a life of humility and meekness.  We must never see ourselves as greater than anyone else.  We must never believe that we are too good to minister to certain people.  We must always be ready to sacrifice anything if God calls us to.  If we see someone who is hungry, be willing to provide them a meal.  If someone is alone and crying, take the time to comfort them.  If someone is lonely, spend some time with them.  For every person in need, no matter who they are or what their need is, show them the love of God.  Show them that they are significant and not someone to be ignored.  And before you leave, make it a point to share the gospel, allowing God to lead you as to how best to present this important truth.  Do not be pushy. However, this may be the only opportunity they will have to hear it.  A good deed or a loving act can do much to open a heart to the love of Christ.  And always remember, we are not to pick and choose who we will minister to.  Wherever He leads is where we should go.

In closing, let us remember that God came to earth in the form of man to spread the good news that it was possible to be reconciled with God, but it was through His sacrificial death on the cross.  He gave up everything in order to spread this good news to all the people in this broken world.  Moreover, He also discipled men to take over after He ascended and share this same message to every person in the world.  And we, as the Church today, are called at this time to carry on His work.  Let’s get out there and fulfill Christ’s last command He gave to His disciples.  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mat 28:18-20.  Go out to where the lost are.  This is our major calling.

 

 

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