And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!Psalm 90:17 (NLT)
The game was over before it had even begun. Our opponent had gotten into our heads. Sure, it was only a two-on-two basketball game, and we weren’t playing in a tournament or championship game, but respect was on the line. Additionally, the two guys playing against us were younger and much shorter, which is generally a recipe for defeat. So, my friend and I were very cocky heading into the game. We told them how bad we would defeat them. We mocked their height. We talked about our superior skills. They just quietly nodded their heads. However, after the first few missed shots by us, and a few made shots by them, we found ourselves on the losing side of the game. The final score was 21-10. We got whooped.
So, what was their secret? How did they beat us? They let us get comfortable and arrogant. They let us believe that we didn’t need to work in order to secure a victory. They let us beat ourselves.
Yesterday, I mentioned in my Daily Dose that one of the things we need to do as the church is invite others to join our faith community. Yet, all across North America, churches are closing at an alarming rate. The average age of most congregations is over 60. Many churches are literally dying out because no new people have joined their faith community.
So, why is this happening? There are several factors, the key one being that people refuse to invite people into that faith community. More than one study showed large percentages of unchurched would consider attending a church if someone simply invited them. The problem is not the attitude of the unchurched; rather, it is often the failure of church members to invite others. In other words, we’re dying out because we aren’t trying very hard.
As the Psalmist put it, “may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful.” Notice, he says “our efforts.” We, as Christians, have work to do. And, there is no greater work than leading people to Jesus. Additionally, we can’t make a half-hearted effort like that basketball game so many years ago. (“I invited someone once and they said ‘no.’”) We must keep trying, keep inviting, keep praying, keep leading, keep sharing, all the days of our life.