Have you ever heard the term?
The term 'intentional' refers to something done on purpose, something deliberate. It is the act of setting your heart on 'something' and then putting your back or your body into what is decided.
The hymn 'I have decided to follow Jesus', though once much more familiar than it is presently, speaks to being intentional in the decision to forsake sin and follow the Savior. It is something that a person must decide in their heart and then under the control of the Holy Spirit complete regardless of cost or consequence. And as with anything worthwhile, there will always be a cost and a consequence. While the cost may be thought too demanding on the front end the consequence of faithful love and service will make it well worth the investment going forward.
That said, in matters of personal service, how long has it been since you intentionally invited a friend or even a stranger to join you in a bible study or a worship opportunity where the Word of God was shared? How long since you deliberately went out of your way to encourage someone to join you at church or for a time of spiritual renewal? Can you remember the last time that you prayed for God's direction to put someone in your path on a particular day for that distinct purpose?
I heard it said on one occasion that 'if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time!' In matters of being intentional in our witness of Christ that describes the mindset of many in the church today.
Some don't attend worship because they don't like the person or persons who are leading it. Some don't attend church because of who isn't leading it. Some don't attend because they suffered an injury from someone who thought more of themselves than they did others. And some don't attend because they simply haven't been invited or included.
We all need the reminder that God desires for His church to 'go out' so that others might 'come in.'
Most won't come unless we first are willing to go. Some won't come when we do. But what about the one or two who may, if intentionally invited? Would not 'the one' be worth it if they found Christ in the process and became a part of God's forever family?
The Bible says that Jesus left the fold to find the one (Matthew 18:12) and when found a true celebration began! God provides much for us to celebrate each day on a variety of levels, most temporal. We have experienced much of God's activity of late in seeing souls saved and baptized. If we desire for the celebration to go on and on and on, we must keep going and sharing the good news!
As this ministry year comes to an end in September and we look toward the start of another in October, will you decide to be more deliberate in inviting and including someone to join you in your journey with Jesus?
This may be uncomfortable for you at first, but I urge you therefore brethren to be more intentional in including others in your small group or Sunday school class. Invite them to worship and join them during it. Be willing to leave what is familiar so that others may find eternal life.
After all is said and done, those very real people from all walks of life, all made in the image of God, all different and unique in God's own way are the only ones you and I are taking with us from the present into the eternal. No gold or silver, no money or material items, no trinkets or 'toys' are going to make the journey from here to hereafter. Only those we invested in intentionally with eternity in mind.
Don't sacrifice what is important on the altar of the urgent in days going forward. Be intentional in your worship and in your service of inviting others to be included in the family of faith!
"Be doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving yourselves" (James 1:22).
Be intentional in following Christ and finding the lost.
Who's your one?