Love People Into Greatness
So, when you are in a situation that has programs, meetings, schedules and things like that, people want to know how they are to follow God in the middle of all that. We get about 200 letters every single day from people all over the world—from the United States as well as many countries. They all have this same kind of question. Whether it’s in Bombay or Delhi or São Paolo, Brazil or where ever the place—it’s always the same question. They are asking what to do in a cultural religion, which is the only thing we have ever been taught. We all grew up learning it was supposed to be a certain way. Religion has approached things that way for so many years and so many generations.
But guess what? Everybody in the whole world used to think the world was flat, too! Did you know that? It was a “scientific fact” that was taught by everyone: the world is flat and if you go far enough you will fall off the edge. Everybody believed that for thousands of years. Everyone believed the world was flat. Does that mean we have to believe the world is flat just because everybody else does?
The religious world has always done this same thing. In fact, whether it’s Islam or any other world religion, they always do this. In Islam, people go to services on Friday, listen to a sermon, fall asleep during the sermon, say some “prayers” and they go home. This is how an Islamic taxicab driver in Cairo, described it to me from his own mouth. I said, “Describe to me your religion.”
He said, “We attend ‘church’ [the Mosque in his case] on Friday, we listen to a sermon, we have some prayers, people sleep during the sermon, and then we go home.”
Does that sound familiar?
Just because Islam does it and “Christianity” in the world does that too, doesn’t mean that’s what the Bible says. Find me that description of church in the Bible. You won’t find it because it’s not in there. Just because people believe “the world is flat,” doesn’t mean we need to keep on believing that too.
It’s not flat! And the church as Jesus defines it is very different from what most of us have experienced. Let’s say you are in a world where everybody you know thinks the world is flat and you have discovered, by God’s grace that it is actually round. Are you going to go around hitting people with a piece of wood who think the world is flat? Are you going to stand up on a tree stump and shout, “The world is round and if you don’t think so, then I hate you, and I don’t want anything to do with you!” You’re not going to do that, right? If God showed you something about the church, you’re going to begin to love the people around you into greatness.
I really would like you to remember this phrase, because it will change your life and it will change everybody around you: Love the people around you into greatness.
Love them into greatness. That’s what you do. You love people into greatness. You’re not trying to start something. This isn’t about “starting something.” This is about God opening our eyes to something special and precious and wonderful. You can smell the fragrance of spring flowers and you want to tell other people about the fragrance of those spring flowers. You’ve seen a rainbow and you try to tell people who have never opened their eyes, “Open your eyes. There’s a rainbow. See it? This is what a rainbow looks like. Open your eyes!”
Loving people into greatness takes a little bit of time and patience. There is no pride in it. There is no arrogance and no ambition. You are not trying to start something or get them to “do” something. You’re not trying to be someone. You’re trying to love them with the things God is showing you and love them into greatness.
“If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me,” Jesus said. The closer we come to the thought, the heart, the mind, and the ways of Jesus—who loved people into greatness—the more attractive people will become. They will begin to shed the old-man clothing, because they’ve been loved into greatness. You can’t “argue” them into greatness. You can kindly show them the Scriptures. You can open the Bible and show them what God has said. And then you can wink at them, give them a hug and a kiss on the cheek and say, “This is God’s Word. Pray about it. Think about it.” And then leave it alone.
You can revisit it later on. But no slapping allowed. You don’t have to be divisive. In fact, you must not be divisive. Do not try to shove truth down people’s throats, but love them into greatness, because Jesus is very Attractive. Jesus is very, very contagious. We want to be like Jesus who said, “Come follow Me. I’ll make you fishers of men,” with a wink and a smile. He didn’t pound truth at them, even though He had much truth that He could share with them—and much truth they did need! Instead He said, “Let’s walk together. We can talk as we walk along the way.”
So, that’s what we do. And it doesn’t matter what our situation is. It doesn’t matter how complicated it is or how many programs or obstacles there are. It doesn’t make any difference. It’s with a wink and a smile that we walk this out together and we can talk as we go. And Jesus will be the one to open your heart and your mind.
It’s just like it was with the men on the road to Emmaus. Jesus was walking along with them, and their hearts burned within them as they walked along the way. But they didn’t really know what it meant until a little while later when they were breaking bread and Jesus disappeared. It was then that the men said, “That was the Lord! Did not our hearts burn within us as we walked?” They didn’t even connect the two when they were on the road. They remembered that their hearts burned within them, but at the time it was happening, they didn’t get it. They were just still thinking about it. Thinking, thinking, thinking. Then after they broke bread together, their eyes opened and the scales fell off and God knit them into His Eternal purpose at a much higher level than they had ever experienced before.
So it’s with a wink and a smile and a walk along the road that we live in the same way Jesus did with the men on the road to Emmaus. We break bread together and plant the seed. The seed is the Word, right? You can plant a seed of a tree, but it’s very difficult to plant a tree. Plant a seed rather than a tree, because that seed will grow as God gives increase. We know not how, but that seed will grow.
Plant the seed with Love. Water it with the tears of your prayer—not your arrogance, not your divisiveness, not your forcefulness. Plant the Seed of the Word and water it with the tears of Jesus heart, in prayer, when no one else is watching. If you care that much, God will give Increase. You won’t have to fight your way through this. God will just swing the door open and you’ll know that God has visited His People.