As we came out of the house earlier this week, we were greeting by what I hope will be the last snow of the year. The temperatures are getting warmer and visitors are heading to the various Maple Syrup festivals with the promise of fresh syrup and pancakes.
Here’s a little window in your pastor - I love pancakes and fresh maple syrup.
There’s just something about the “maplely-sweetness” with a fresh cup of coffee that I love. I enjoyed accompanying Parker’s school class last spring to the sugar shack at Mountsberg. And while they didn’t serve pancakes, we did get a taste of fresh syrup.
An acquaintance of mine makes his own syrup. He lives on a piece of property outside London will a forest full of maple trees and he thought he would try his hand at making his own “maplely-sweet goodness”. But he is finding that the work is very intensive. He is not averse to hard work but did you know that it takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of syrup? That’s a lot of trekking through the bush, hauling pails, and spending time boiling it down. Maple syrup is precious not only because of the taste but also because of the work involved in producing it.
This reminds me of the hard work of making relationships with people who don’t know Jesus….. yet. It takes a lot of time and energy to develop friendships and relationships that might eventually end up in some sort of spiritual conversation and gospel presentation.
Jesus said that we are to “make disciples” (Matt 28) as we are going about our life. But how can we be making disciples if we are not doing the work of being connected to people who might never know the powerful love of Jesus? I think we can become very complacent - and dare I say, spiritually lazy by just keeping to our safe little groups and never working, talking and sharing life with people who have never heard the message of Jesus. Jesus spent his time with people who didn’t know about God’s love for them – and he prioritized his time to be with those people and share the message of the Kingdom of God.
It might take less than a 40:1 ratio of relationships to spiritual conversations but the work is hard nonetheless. People need to know that they are loved and cared for before they will open up their hearts and minds to the significant questions that Jesus is asking us to ask of people.
So, let me close with a three questions to make us think today…
Are you committed to obeying Jesus command to “make disciples”? It all starts here… I talk a lot about this question here at Calvary but if we don’t believe it that we need to obey Jesus, then we can stop the discussion here.
But if you do believe it (and I really hope you do) , here’s a couple more questions….
Where are you intentionally finding time in your schedule to be with people who don’t know Jesus? This might require a change in your calendar and prioritize but it is worth it. Yes, it will be counter-cultural, especially when we need live by the ethics and values of the Kingdom, but we can live wisely without giving in to sin or unwise behaviour.
Are we asking people the right questions? It’s one thing to spend our time with people who don’t know Jesus but there is going to come a time where we are going to have to ask questions about spiritual life and eternity. Are you doing this? If we truly believe that issues of faith in Jesus are critical, we need to be asking these questions in love.
So, when you are enjoying your maple syrup this spring, think about the work that went into making it and then compare that work with working to build relationships with people who don’t know Jesus. By faith, when they do respond to the Gospel, the reward will be sweet and all the praise goes to Jesus to is at work in you and His church.
Pastor Aaron Groat
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