“It’s like this…” Jesus used this phrase often as he communicated the values of Heaven to those who followed him. I was challenged earlier in my years in ministry to make an effort to find modern day parables to better understand and talk about God’s Kingdom, both now and later.
Jill and I—mostly Jill, because her heart is more tender than mine—have adopted three cats that live very comfortably in our garage and roam the land around our house in great freedom. One of these is named Blue, she is very shy and reclusive. Eight days ago she didn’t show up for breakfast, not that this is a new pattern. Blue is usually off hiding somewhere.
Jill will walk the perimeter of the yard calling her name and she will often come scampering home, but not this time. Day four passed and Jill continued to call. Our hearts were heavy, wondering what this cat had gotten herself into. Day five and we began to wonder about the coyotes, or the owls that hunt in the woods nearby. Day six caught me driving up and down Allen Rd in search of a body.
Each day Jill was relentless about calling for Blue, hoping she would hear the sound of home and return. In the back of our minds we began to acknowledge that she wouldn’t return. Day eight, Jill called for Blue as she had done seven days in a row. Lifting up her head, she cried out to God to guide Blue back home.
Sometime around 10:30am on the eighth day I received the photo of Blue eating a meal in the garage. There was a sense of joy, calmness, and that all was put right again.
I was reminded as I looked at the text message of the Kingdom of Heaven. The emotions we felt as what had been lost, returned home. “It’s like this…” God gave us a sample of the longing he has for people who are far from him to return. Jill lived out the daily searching, calling, longing for the wanderer to come back.
Richwoods’ part in the Kingdom is to help others find their way back to God. Showing up at a weekend service, volunteering in a ministry, attending a small group, all these things we do within Richwoods provide an opportunity to encounter God, but how will people who are far from him find their way here?
God has put people in our path of life who are far from him, and furthermore he wants us to join him in the pursuit of restoration. By investing our time in relationships with others, caring for them as individuals, we will have the opportunity to invite them to what we experience at Richwoods. This truly is our purpose and calling as a church, to help people find and follow Christ, but it won’t happen unless we are relentless about seeking after those who are far away.
Who has God put on your mind to invest in?
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On average Richwoods needs to receive $39.1K in gifts to meet its 2017 operating expenses, 10% of which goes immediately to Missions and helping people in our community who are experiencing financial troubles.
If you have questions about the information shared in this fyi, you can contact our Executive Pastor, Joel Dryden by email. You can also leave a comment below.