I recently started a Bible study that will meet weekly at my parents house. It's been going great. We have a good turn out and people seem to be responding well to the material. I'm learning a lot in the process, which is one of the main reasons I like to lead Bible studies.
There is an interesting thing that happens every time I start a Bible study. There are certain people I pray for and personally invite, who never attend. In fact, they avoid it like the plague.
Now you need to know I am fully aware of the possibility that I suck as a teacher, and that's why they don't come. However, I don't think that is relevant to this topic. Usually, those I am referring to here are people who have never attended my Bible studies, so I don't think they avoid them for that reason. I also don't believe that, if they come to my Bible study, God will reveal Himself to them, their lives will change, and we will all walk into the sunset hand in hand.
I'm also not talking about people who come off and on. Life gets complicated, there's Sunday football games, or season premiere of 24 (yessssss!).
Specifically, these are people I know, who have opened up to me about problems in their lives. They are hurting. They are crying out for help. Their lives are unravelling. Some have literally told me, "Mark... I need God. I need help."
Mention a Bible study, and they react one of 3 ways:
(Eyebrows high in the air, make sure to smirk ever so slyly) "Well... I'll ummm, see if I can make it. Thanks for the invite, 'k?
(No direct eye contact) "Sure. I'll be there. Thanks."
(After reading an email invite) ....cricket...cricket...cricket...
I don't get upset about it. It just bothers me that the Bible is so right, all the time.
11 As a dog returns to its vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Someone asked me once why I believe the Bible. There are many reasons why I believe it. But at that moment, my answer was "because we humans prove it right every time by our thoughts and actions".
It saddens me how trite; how small we are. It saddens me that we would cry for help, and continue making excuses for running from God, the One individual who can give us the answers to our problems. It saddens me even more that the number of people in the world who respond in this way to Him is staggering.
I can only conclude that they are content in their misery. They are comfortable in their stupor. They feel safe in their own vomit.
Exposing oneself to truth can be painful. It's exactly that; exposure.
A few years ago, I gave up trying to "lead people to Christ". I didn't give up one people, or on sharing what God has done in my life. I just don't actively go out there being a cheerleader for God. I think God does it in His own time. I think people respond to God when He makes Himself present to them; when they are ready to listen to Him on His terms, not theirs.
I guess I'll do what Cesar (one of my friends) said to me at last nights Bible study, "Pray for them. Pray for them."
That's all I can do.