What we do in order to draw people to us is what we end up doing in order to keep people coming to us.
I once had a friend tell me this. It made sense when he told me that and it makes sense now. There are many parallels to this statement but the recurring truth is simple, profound, and applicable: the means, shows, glamour, glitz, flash, money … whatever … that we use to draw people to us, to our churches, to our homes, to our stores, etc. are the recurring ‘cards’ that will have to be played in order to keep those people coming again and again.
I’m pretty sure that each of us can relate to this statement.
Maybe we drew friends close to us by the way that we spent money on them. Maybe we attracted hundreds and thousands to our shows by the features we continually blitzed past them. Maybe we attracted masses to our restaurants by the service and consistent quality of food we presented to them. (And by the way, that’s NOT a bad thing at all.) Maybe as musicians, we continually presented the listeners with punch and ‘tight’ music in a way that habitually explored new horizons. Or maybe we built our churches by being on the edge, trying new things, and bringing in big name speakers,
What I’m saying to these and other approaches, is that this things you used in order to draw people to you ARE THE SAME THINGS you are going to have to use in order to keep them coming.
Please note, this IS NOT necessarily a judgment call (but by the same token, if you feel judged or convicted … then maybe it IS such a call … to you.) One of my favorite music bands is a group known simply as ‘The Rippingtons.’ They began 28 years ago as a guitarist assembled around him a group of hot, experienced, and talented musicians who were very tight in their sound and who were explorers of new traditions of music. After all these years, they continue in this same vein. They are often criticized, mind you, because they never stay the same but continue to explore and branch out in their various arts. The truth, however, is that the way they started is the way they have maintained and sustained.
And churches who begin as centers of the loud, the glowing, and the famous have sometimes failed because they could not effectively continue to keep up the hype that surrounded their initial, gathering stages.
Certainly, you and I can both find exceptions to this concept but, overall, this is the rule: the way you bring them in is the way you’ll have to maintain them.
What we do in the sowing is rewarded in the reaping.
A Biblical mandate is found in Galatians 6:7-10
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (NLT)
It is a known and proven fact that we cannot plant a seed of corn and expect from that kernel a plant of green beans to grow. This is called the law or principle of sowing and reaping.
We must respect and acknowledge that, in the natural realm, whatever we put into something is indicative of what we will attain from that effort/deed. Granted, there have been moments when we may have mistakenly put great efforts into something that we deemed as worthy … only to see that particular something founder and fail. But generally, the things we pay attention to, the things we put efforts into, the things that we spend time and perhaps, money, on … these are the things that will grow and prosper.
If we as parents will spend more time with our children (and make THAT time both quantity and quality time), the better those children’s future will be.
If we as husbands/wives will pay the needed attention to our mates … through listening, adoring, and just BEING with them, the greater and more beautiful benefits we will receive from that attention spent. Our marriages will be better. And our appreciation for one another will soar.
If we as Christians will take the time to pray, to read God’s Word, to spend time in community with His saints, the more seemingly efforts our attempts at service/ministry will seem This will happen because our service then becomes an outgrowth or over-flowing of the relationship we have with Him and He with us.
What we sow we will reap
What we do in life echoes in eternity
And finally, as a culmination of all these previously mentioned things, eternity will be positioned, altered, and perhaps, enhanced because of the life that we have each lived.
It is been suggested that the tiniest of drops of water in the deep, blue sea affect the remainder of that sea in a ripple effect.
The falling of one leaf in the forest affects the entirety of the forest because of its presence … whether that presence covers something needing shelter, presents itself as food to the various creatures of the forest, or simply becomes fuel to the garden compost of the earth.
So each life affects eternity.
You and I are making a heritage … whether good, bad, or seemingly non-influential. Someone is watching us. Someone will read about us or hear about us through a story.
Our families are greatly influenced by us.
We are important.
The musical group Kansas once sang a song, ‘Dust in the Wind.’ While some have interpreted this song to mean that our lives are short and meaningless, others have (correctly … I think) understood the song to mean that although life may be short, and that each of us will return to the dust from which we have come, our future lies outside of ourselves and more importantly, in the hands of a Savior.
It IS important that we acknowledge that we are a part of something greater than us … and that something greater is a future.
That future is dictated by the responses we make to the ‘cards’ we have been dealt.
That future is positioned by the investments we make (or not).
That future is granted based upon the decisions we make in this brief life.
And that future is sealed by the ultimate decision we make concerning Jesus Christ.
Let’s all consider our present … with an eye for the future … not for the purpose of worrying about that future, but for the purpose of intentionally assuring a good future.