Let me give you a little background to my post. Last year during our summer mission trip our youth ministry formed a bond with some children at the Northwood Apartment complex here in Adamsville. That, with our bus ministry that runs on Wednesday nights, has boomed our Youth and Children’s Wednesday night program to bursting. Which is great! I love having these precious children in what I feel is an extension of my home every week. I’ve grown to love them as my own, I’ve formed friendships with some of their parents, or at least more of a relationship than I had a year ago.
I was looking around my 1st and 2nd grade room last night and I noticed something. Out of the 12 we had stuffed into that tiny room (really whoever designed our church was not planning for large classes!) only one of them has parents who are church members, one other attends with her adopted grandmother/neighbor, another was a first time visitor with her parents, that left 9 with essentially no connection to our church whatsoever other than we pick them up from school or home and bring them to church, feed them, and teach them God’s word. I think it’s great that we are reaching children who possibly have never heard the gospel before, I think it’s great that we’re feeding them a hot meal, I think it’s fabulous that we’re showing them unconditional (sometimes tough) love.
But I got really convicted, some of them I don’t know their parents at all. Some of them I know their parents, but not really. Some of them I haven’t even tried to get to know.
But then, I was reading in Acts today in preparation for Bible Study tomorrow, and I got to Acts 10. The Lord drops a sheet with all these unclean animals on it slaughtered to cook. And if you know anything about Judaism you know there are certain foods that they are not allowed to eat because of the Laws in the Old Testament. But God is basically saying, which Jesus said earlier in Mark 7, it’s not what we put into us that makes us unclean, this food is now ok to eat. Old Peter being a good Baptist, I mean Jew, says “but Lord we’ve never done it this way before,” and he begins to ponder what the Lord is trying to say to him. About that time some Gentiles walk up and ask him to come with him to Cornelius, the centurion’s house. This of course was a big no-no, think blacks and whites hanging out in the south in the 60′s, except Peter eating with a Gentile would have affected his worship as well, he would have been considered unclean.
As I was studying though I found this quote by John Polhill: It is simply not possible to fully accept someone with whom you are unwilling to share in the intimacy of table fellowship.
This hit me like a brick between the eyes. How many of these families am I willing to accept into my house. How many of these children do I sit with on Wednesday nights? Now, what am I gonna do about it? But I take it one step further, church, what are we gonna do about it? I don’t mean instilling another program, I mean personally, what are we gonna do about it. The Lord’s final words to us tell us that as we are going to share the gospel and make disciples. Well, we didn’t even have to go anywhere the Lord has plopped a big load of prospects in our laps. Let’s not be disobedient. Let’s eat even if it makes us uncomfortable. Let’s love even if they’re rowdy. Let’s get out there and meet their parents so that one day we can be in community with the whole family!