Friday, August 23, 2013

That's My Problem

I picked up the invitations as I left church two weeks ago; for the final Friendship Sunday of the summer.

We've had two "Friendship Sundays" so far over the hot summer months; church services that are deliberately welcoming to visitors. Dress is casual, we have a short and engaging service, and then a BBQ lunch with everyone bringing salads and desserts to share.

It's been fun and I've enjoyed these Sundays. They feel festive and friendly and I've seen many new faces in church.

I've been great at bringing salad and dessert; not so great at bringing a friend.

So that's why I picked up a bunch of the invitations to a corn roast, printed on stiff card and gaily decorated. This time I would invite everyone in our neighbourhood, I thought. 

But instead of giving them out, I didn't. Last Sunday came and I beat myself up before leaving for church with a salad and a Bavarian Apple Torte, feeling badly that yet again I would arrive without the most important ingredient. 

It didn't take long for me to realize that something else was out of place. There were no tables set up downstairs, and no other food in the kitchen. I realized that Friendship Sunday was August 25, not August 18. I wondered if this was a hint of what my life was going to be from here on--me showing up for things on the wrong day!

But this did mean that I still had a chance. All was not lost.

Tonight at cell group as we prayed at the end, I asked for prayer that I would have the courage to give the invitations out--not be so shy and reticent. Every time I thank God for the blessing of knowing him intimately, I try to imagine my life without this relationship with him, and I can't. I am so grateful that he walks with me through all of my highs and lows. 

Why then am I so reluctant to invite my neighbours to share in the joy that I know?

Susan stayed behind for a second cup of decaff coffee after cell group. As she walked through the kitchen she put down her empty cup, glanced at my neat stack of invitations waiting there and said, "See, that's your problem--I hid mine!"


Anonymous said...

Oh boy - I'm so the same around this. I wouldn't trade my salvation for anything - anything - and I know everyone needs salvation. Yet - I have a terrible time with "promotion". It is much like I am aware I am better as "service" - helping those that need help/ask for help, than "sales" - convincing people they need what I have. That is why church building and discipleship/teaching comes easier then evangelism and outreach.

I keep telling myself that we are all gifted - every member of the body has their own gifts. Also that God doesn't need me to do His work, He allows me the blessing of coming along side. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts.

Hey - that is what I tell myself. You are brave. I probably wouldn't have even picked up the invitations!!! ha ha...

Anonymous said...

That friend of yours, Susan, she is HILARIOUS!!!! :)

Belinda said...

Susan IS hilarious Anon! I love her.

Dave Hingsburger said...

There is a man, a Christian, who sits on a committee that I am involved in in my civilian life away from service provision. Even though I am Christian, I am wary of Christians - for the obvious reason. In fact, I wasn't alone. When the committee first was struck, a lot of people were grumbling about his presence, all expecting someone harsh and judgemental and self righteous - everyone, it seemed, had a negative experience and those experiences had become stereotypes and those stereotypes themselves were harsh, judgemental and self righteous. Anyways, as time went on this fellow demonstrated a capacity for love and gentleness ... along with keen insight ... that has made him a hugely important part of the group. He is admired and he is respected. Now I've noticed that occasionally he'll be asked to talk a bit about his faith and his personal faith journey. He keeps it conversational not conversional and I've listened and learned as he's talked. So what I'm saying Belinda - God gives many gifts ... some have the gift of inviting by handing out cards, others give the gift of inviting in a very different way. You, to me, are like that man.

Belinda said...

Dave, thank you for word that are kind and encouraging! A warm hug back.

Marilyn said...

I can't tell you how much I loved this (and related), the guilt over not having invited others and then, being given a second chance, angsting all over again. Maybe I shouldn't say I enjoyed it, but there is something just so human about it.

Susan is not a believer in torturing oneself, I take it. I always like to have someone like that around.

Dave's story is a keeper!

Belinda said...

Ahh, Marilyn, Susan has beaten me to it in spite of having hidden her invitations. :) Someone told me tonight, "Belinda I'm coming to church on Sunday. Susan invited me!"