Tag! You're it!!
I used to love playing tag of any kind. Freeze tag was fun. Flashlight tag could get a bit contentious though. Arguments about whether the beam of light actually touched another body would often lead to the game dissolving quickly. Upon starting a new game of tag, nobody really ever wanted to be the chaser. Most wanted to avoid being tagged. Because I was a fast runner, I didn't mind being chosen to be the chaser. I could easily freeze all of the participants in the game of tag. It wasn't much fun for the other kids, but I had a blast.
No sweeter words could be spoken in a game of tag than "Tag! You're it!" Of course there was the quick response from the tagger to the tagged, "No butcherbacks!" In other words, as soon as the tagger tagged the next victim, the tagged was not allowed to re-tag the tagger..... (Go ahead and reread that last line; I'll wait.)
Our church has begun a month long study of hospitality. Colleague Dianne Salter has graciously allowed us to use her material. Today's devotional reading focused on God's connection to Israel as found in Isaiah 43. I marvel how God always reached out to redeem Israel even when the nation was entombed in sin and rebellion. God never gave up on his people. Many spokespeople were sent to the nation to deliver God's message of hope. God never gives up on us either. Take a look at the conversation God had with Israel.
There is a reason God pursues humanity. God created us, loves us, and wants to have a relationship with us. Awesome!! God redeems us so that we will be witnesses that lead others to find the grace of God. I suppose that would make us a bit like prophets of God as we proclaim the wonders of God to the next person that needs to be tagged.
Do you sense God expects you to reach someone with God's grace? Have you ever considered that you may be responsible for one person that needs to know and understand the love of God? The text from Isaiah 43 makes is quite clear that we all are God's witnesses. God forbid that we would be silent in our task. Since most church goers assume pastors are the chaser in this game of tag, I will reach out and tap you on the shoulder and say, "Tag! You're it!"
Oh, and you are forbidden to reach back and re-tag me. No butcherbacks allowed. Our focus must be on the unchurched or dechurched (those who once attended church then left). It is believed that 80% of the nation's population have little or no meaningful relationship with a church. By 2020, the number will rise to 85%. Christians must move beyond catering to other believers and begin connecting with those who have no connection to the Almighty. I'll say it again, "Tag! You're it!"