I was listening to an ESPN Sports Talk Radio Show the other morning, and the host was talking about the differences in recruiting and hiring among colleges and various sports organizations. The best way I could summarize all this discussion is this: if you're important, if your program and tradition has an aura about it, then you'll never have to convince someone to play for you...to attend your school...to join your company. All you do is ask. Your position is one of confidence, security, comfort, and foundation. People want to be a part of what you're all about.
The flip side of that coin is the convincing part. This sportscaster suggested that every other group who's not steeped in tradition, mystique, heritage, and prominence has to convince folks to be join up with them. It's like they're not good enough and they know it, but they don't necessarily want you to be made aware of that. So, you dress it up, you schmooze, you over-hype, you make unrealistic promises, and cast impossible dreams/goals. You see where this is going, yes? I haven't even attacked the notion that depending on loyalties and how you grew up, your perspective and opinion will be compromised. But what does that have to do with Jesus and the Gospel?
Jesus is not a "convincer." Jesus is an "asker." His message, His roots, His Lordship, His Heaven, His grace; it speaks for itself. There's no reason to try and dress it up, although if it's going to be done, sadly I suspect it's done by us! What would His Church look like if we asked more and convinced less? The deep-down, dark reality is that we've got to embrace His grace-filled life and way of living as enough--no additives or special upgrades needed.
May we commit to ask Jesus for all we need, and may we be receptive to the things the Holy Spirit asks of us. May we not need convincing. And God help us with the most basic of human communication for our world around us--meeting their needs, listening to their pain, encouraging their souls, pointing them to Jesus' salvation. MAY WE ASK.