Do we pursue others for Jesus for selfish reasons?
by Mark Riddle
A thought occurred to me this morning. Maybe we should stop pursuing people in the church, or rather, maybe we should stop being so consumed about pursuing people.
What pursuit feels like
Lions pursue prey. Flesh-eating Zombies pursue victims brains. Athletes pursue trophies. Police pursue suspects. Churches pursue non-church folks. I can imagine a bunch of people pursuing people in the name of evangelism. This isn’t a game of tag in the school yard. No one wanted to play tag with the kid who needed to play tag. That kid was creepy. No one likes to be chased by a someone. Not even lovers courting each other pursue each other like this. The more a lover needs the other or is consumed by the other the less attractive the pursuer is.
Maybe we pursue people because we target them as a part of our “target audience?” Does it feel good to know that a group of people are targeting you?
I’m sure that to some this seems silly, that pursuing or targeting others is something Jesus commanded. For some this drive is rooted in their understanding of evangelism. Perhaps they’ll tell me we are fishers of men (which, out of context, sounds down-right creepy). Maybe they’ll quote Jesus telling his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples. I like these verses too and they could be right I suppose. These verses may have been intended to spur followers of Jesus to pursue people.
I’m not convinced.
“Pursuing” vs “Inviting”
Maybe our need to pursue others (in Jesus name) is actually just another way to selfishly let ourselves be driven by our own needs and agenda rather than God’s.
Edwin Friedman once wrote that “people cannot hear you unless they are moving toward you, which means as long as you are in a pursuing or rescuing position, your message will never catch up, no matter how eloquently or repeatedly you articulate your ideas.”
Perhaps the way of Christ is less about pursuing or targeting others and more about inviting people in to a way of God that you are already living.
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