Available – able to be used, obtained, or relied on

I was told to “bring the youth in” so I went to the youth in my church to start up a youth group.  To a person, they were unavailable.  They had so many other things going on that they simply did not have time for a faith group.  Sports, school, friends, specialty camps, etc.

So I took the church van to a subsidized housing complex and stopped at the basketball hoop where kids were standing around in the heat…with no basketball.  I told them that I had funds, time, and a van if they wanted to get involved in a youth group.  None of those kids went to my church. They were of every ethnicity and race…and of one demographic – poor.  They looked at each only for only a minute and then shrugged almost in unison, and said, “Okay.”  And off it went.  I told them the next time they come they each needed to bring a friend.  That had to be part of the deal.  And I told them that we could do fun stuff, but I got to have 30 minutes of their time at each gathering to talk about faith.  That had to be part of the deal, too. No one batted an eye at any of that.  They had nothing better to do.  No one had ever come out and offered them anything before…except the gangs.   Many among that group became disciples…the real kind.  And that group birthed many other groups.  It became a shelter…a place of peace…for people who had never known peace.  They had all the time in the world. They made time.  They turned down other offers.  They were available. My congregation is now active and highly supportive of every youth mission.

We started a street ministry many years ago, and I went to my congregation to see who was in.  Two people came forward. Both of them were new to the community.  Everyone else was busy.  They just didn’t have time.  I went to other churches in my denomination to help, and no one came forward. So I asked the people I did sports with who had no church affiliation of formal faith background, and several of them said, “Yes, absolutely”.  We went out to the streets and we invited everyone who was served to help us.  We invited the saved and the sinners, the clean and the unbathed. Many of them were so honored to be asked that they jumped at the chance to do something meaningful.  They had never been asked by anyone to do something like that.  We gave them the reins of the mission.  They acted as though they had been invited to a grand feast……a wedding banquet for some very important person…and in fact, they had been.  I prayed a prayer of anointing on them, and off it went.  They invited their friends to come and help. The mission grew. It now has birthed many other missions and ministries – too many to name here.  The people we asked to help us had time.  They made time.  They canceled other things they deemed to be less important.  They were available. My congregation is now filled with people who are available.

Matthew 22:1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

The usually-uninvited were available.  Are we?


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