Last week in church our amazing Pastor, Todd Rodarmel, gave an amazing message. I know it was on something else entirely, but I was so completely captured by one line of what he said that I literally couldn’t hear anything else. He talked about the verse in Isaiah 54:2 that says,
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” (NIV)
He explained that, to him, this verse is about widening the reach of the Kingdom of God in this world… about claiming ground for Jesus. He told us that each of our homes is like a tent stake in the ground for the church. The church is so much bigger than just the building where services are held and the city on its postal address because it has us as the members dwelling in homes that are called to be outposts (or “tent stakes”) that widen the reach of the tent.
To me, that snippet of his message spoke loudly above all the rest because the night before I had a crazy vivid dream. I dreamt that my husband and I were at the home of some of our closest friends. We were talking and the wife was clearly angry with us. She looked right at me and said, “You don’t even care about us. You never even invited us to church!” Her husband sat next to her, looking heartbroken by our betrayal.
How could this be?! These have been some of our closest friends. They were there for us from the time we first started dating, when we got engaged, stood by our side at our wedding and were some of the first people to come to our home to bring us dinner when our son was born. Had we really never invited them to church? We’ve talked with them about our beliefs, and they know we are Christians, but had we failed to directly extend to them the offer of eternal salvation?
How could we?! The excuses are all too common… They aren’t interested in religion. They know we go to church. If they wanted to come they would ask. They would feel uncomfortable and too pressured if we brought it up. I don’t want to offend them.
I am to be a tent stake. A strong tent stake claiming ground for the Kingdom of God. There are people within my tent covering that I am called to bring into the family of God. There are people that without my bold obedience will not ever be invited to church. There are people within my sphere of influence that have no other Christian friends to carry this mantle. It is MY responsibility. I cannot pass the buck.
These people are my friends, my neighbors, my coworkers. This is my ground to hold.
I went home and created a list of people that I will be praying for daily, that their hearts will be prepared to receive the message of Jesus. Beyond that, I am praying for my own heart. That it will be bold enough to extend the invitation to everyone on my list, that there will be no one who knows my name that has not personally received an invitation to come inside the tent.
Who are you inviting to church this week?