When Jesus returned to the house where he was staying, the crowds began to gather again, and soon he and his disciples couldn’t even find time to eat. Mark 3:20 (NLT)
Several years ago I took my, then, 13 year old brother-in-law, 14 year old sister-in-law, 7 year old daughter, and 9 year old daughter to the park to play and feed and geese. When we found our goose feeding spot we began to throw bread in the water. At first there were only a couple of geese around. But pretty soon geese were coming from all over the lake to get some bread. They came up out of the water and invaded the bank in an effort to get the bread we were giving out. At one point the geese chased my brother-in-law half way back to our house. It was hysterical.
Once we ran out of bread the geese slowly began to wander off. A few hung around for a bit to see if we had anything left and were just being stingy. My brother-in-law thought it would be funny to play a trick on the geese that hung around so he began to throw rocks into the water. When the rocks would splash the geese would swim over there and see if there was anything there. They fell for this a couple of times but soon realized we didn’t have anything left to offer them so they swam off. It didn’t take long before all the geese where gone.
As I watched all of this happen I was reminded of the many times in the Gospel’s we are told that the crowds went to where Jesus was. It seems no matter how hard they tried to go somewhere secretly they just couldn’t. People knew when Jesus was present and when Jesus was present you couldn’t keep the crowds away. I understand that many times the crowds came to Jesus for the wrong reasons (John 6:26), but that doesn’t change the fact that the crowds always went to where Jesus was.
I am fairly convinced that if Jesus is in our church and at work in our church, getting people to come will be the least of our problems. But it has to be something real. Sure people will chase splashes and flashes for a while, but eventually they figure out it’s a just a splash or a flash and nothing of substance. Then they will leave.
One of my main prayers for our church is that when people come they could feel God’s presence, realize that there was something here they had never felt before and that something was Jesus. This isn’t something we can manufacture or program in. It seems that this is something that is either there or it isn’t. My prayer and heart’s desire is that the church will be a place where people can come and genuinely meet Jesus.
Jesus, we need you. We need You more than we need snazzy singing. We need You more than we need eloquent sermons. We need You more than we need anything. I know that you are always with us, and that you will never leave us nor forsake us. I also know that there are times when we are more aware of Your presence than we are at others. Fill our church with Your glory and Your presence. Let us always know that You are there with us. Manifest Yourself to us in unmistakable ways. Let Your presence cause believers to worship You in Spirit and in truth. Let Your presence cause unbelievers to recognize that there is something missing in their lives, and what’s missing is you. Let this recognition cause them to call upon your name and be saved.