Bringing vs. Inviting

In Mark chapter 2, Jesus was teaching and there was such a crowd of people there that they were piled on top of one another.  Literally, no one else could get into the house to see him or hear what Jesus was saying.  There were some men, however, who had a friend that was paralyzed and they wanted to get him to Jesus because they rightfully believed that he could heal their friend.  So the men loaded their buddy onto a stretcher and brought him to where they knew Jesus would be.  When they saw the huge crowd and the fact that they couldn’t get anywhere near Jesus, I imagine they were a bit dismayed.  They probably sat their friend down for a minute to talk things over and decide what to do.  They didn’t give up, however, and came up with a somewhat outrageous plan to get past the crowd.  Four of the friends climbed up on a roof, hoisted their buddy on the stretcher up, walked across the roof until they were above where Jesus was at, and then cut a hole in the roof of the house so they could lower their friend right down next to Jesus.  Talk about commitment to get someone to church!  They even risked personal injury, as I imagine the guy who’s roof that they had just cut a hole in was about to beat them up!

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Here is the point, they didn’t just tell their friend about Jesus….they brought him to Jesus.  They didn’t just tell their friend “Jesus is over there” if you can find a way to get there he might be able to heal you…no, they actually took him to Jesus.  They didn’t just invite their friend to church, they brought him to church and when they couldn’t get in they went the extra mile and cut a hole in the roof to get him in (now please don’t get any ideas and cut holes in our roof of your church to get people to church!!).Bringing someone to church is better than just inviting someone to church.  Bringing someone to church and saying you’ll sit with them lets them know that there is at least one person they will know at church, that way they don’t feel awkward and weird like they are the only new person there. Bringing them lets them know you will be there to “show them the ropes”, as being in church may be new and unfamiliar to them.   Bringing them and promising lunch afterwards means that you’re not just trying to get them to church to get something out of them, you personally are trying to get to know them and develop a relationship with them.   Bringing someone, and offering to be with them, opposed to just handing them an invite card and saying they should check it out, may just give them that last little push they need to come.

One quick story.  I know a gentleman in my church who bumped into a man he didn’t know in a grocery store and they got talking.  Long story short, he didn’t just invite the person to church, he told him when and where they would meet before the church service started.  He offered to sit with him, and even offered to buy him a free lunch afterwards.  The man came and on that very first Sunday gave his life to Christ, and then he even came back the following week.  Honestly, I don’t know that this man would have ever come if he had simply been given an invite card and not “brought” like he was.  These two men were complete strangers and the man came.  I imagine there are a lot of people we know personally – friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. – who would perhaps come to church but an invite is not enough, they need us to bring them like the friends of the paralytic in Mark chapter 2.

Who can you bring to church with you this Sunday?

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