It Starts with the Heart

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. - Acts 17:16–17

Far too often we are isolating ourselves from our culture rather than infiltrating it. We would prefer to remain in our Christian subculture when, in reality, we should want to invade our world with the message of Jesus Christ.

In Mark's Gospel, we find the story of a man who brought Jesus to his friends. Matthew became a believer, and then he invited all of his buddies over to his house. But he also invited Jesus to the party. We read that "as He was dining in Levi's [Matthew's] house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him" (Mark 2:15). Matthew brought Jesus to his friends.

Mark also tells us about four men who brought their friend to Jesus-they were working together on behalf of their companion, who was a paralytic. They wanted Jesus to heal him, but Jesus was teaching in a home that was so crowded, they couldn't get inside. So these men climbed up on the roof, broke through it, and lowered their friend down to where Jesus was. Seeing their persistence and faith, Jesus rewarded them by healing their friend.

I think one of the reasons we don't share the message of Jesus Christ more often is because-if we were really honest-we don't care. So we need to start by praying, "Lord, give me a heart for people who don't know You." When the apostle Paul was in Athens, "his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols" (Acts 17:16). He cared. And then he acted.

May we care enough to bring our friends to Jesus-and bring Jesus to our friends.