“Touch Your Neighbor” is the theme for this week.
And yet, we must admit that the act of inviting is sometimes intimidating. Our intentions are good, but we don’t want to be pushy. We Disciples don’t want to be pigeonholed with the door-to-door groups that come by. We don’t want our church to get a bad name.
Reminds me of the story of a wealthy rancher from West Texas. Each year, he would hold a huge party, where he would gather people around his large swimming pool and make the same offer: Anyone who could swim the length of the pool would receive their choice of 10,000 acres, $10 million in cash, or his daughter’s hand in marriage. The catch? Fifty hungry alligators called the pool their home!
No one took the rancher up on his offer—until one year a young man suddenly jumped into the pool, swam furiously all the way to the end, and quickly jumped out. The rancher offered him his choice of prizes. One by one, the young man refused. Frustrated, the rancher said, “Well, son, what do you want?” “Mister,” said the frightened young man, “I want just five minutes with the guy who pushed me into that pool!”
Some people feel that being urged to “touch” our neighbors is like being pushed into a pool of alligators! Don’t feel like your selling something. Just offer the gift. All may not accept your suggestion, but your spirit will grow, just from reaching out. Invite someone, in a manner comfortable to you, to a wonderful experience of worship.
(Original content written November 2001)