August 17, 2021
Natale Richards -- Young Life, Monterey Peninsula
I am the area director of Monterey Peninsula Young Life. I lead and oversee a local Young Life club along with the volunteers who lead the students. I am tasked with dreaming and executing with Jesus, committee members, volunteer leaders, and Young Life friends about how we can share the good news of Jesus with all teens on the peninsula.
My husband and I recently celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. While there are many things that I have loved learning and experiencing because of our union, one of the most enjoyable has been Adam’s gift of hospitality. Having not come from a family who hosted often, the idea of inviting people into our home and lives was at times admittedly foreign. The fruit of those small and sometimes big invitations that we have extended over the last 4 years have truly caused me to rethink what it means to “love thy neighbor.” One of the most impressive notions was that many times when we extended an invitation to someone to come over for dinner, or join us at an event, we had to take the first step. Sometimes we were familiar with the people we were pursuing, but many times we were not. In our second year of marriage when we found ourselves living in a new neighborhood, Adam got the idea to throw a block party. He went door to door and personally invited every neighbor on our block over (he also only gave me a 24 hour notice but that’s a different story!). He took the first step and pursued them.
When I think of Jesus, I can recall many times he did this. One of my favorite times is when he pursued Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was already curious about Jesus which thus led him to climb the tree to get a better look. Jesus then took the initiative to pursue him which thus led to a life transforming experience for Zacchaeus.
Is there someone who you have noticed or perhaps know they have noticed you that you feel the Lord prompting you to pursue? What might pursuing someone look like? Introducing yourself? Inviting them over or out to coffee? Sending a friend request? Maybe just making a habit of acknowledging them and saying hello? Jesus didn’t just mention that it was important to love thy neighbor, he commanded it! Can you imagine how many more sheep would enter into the fold of Christ if we took the commandment to love our neighbor seriously? As I mentioned earlier, some aspects of inviting people in are not natural for me, as I imagine are not for most. Thank God, for the Helper, the Holy Spirit who strengthens us and emboldens us. It’s only through his power isn’t it? None of us click with everyone we meet, but I would encourage you to find the
people you relate to in small ways and be their connection to Christ, be their connection to what’s good in this world. That is when we really love them well.
That the Holy Spirit would prompt and encourage myself and the Young Life leaders to continue pursuing teens on the Peninsula.
That the body of Christ would take obedient and tangible steps to pursue their neighbor and love them well by sharing the love and good news of Jesus.