Based on Matthew 7:1-5, one who seek to invite others to the kingdom of God should practice openness to others since the invitation is open for all. One must not discriminate based on self-established standards which in itself screen people subjectively. These standards are usually affected by one’s own prejudices such as the environment you were brought up in and perceived measures of right and wrong. One must not also put “labels” in people, considering oneself “holier than thou”.
In Matthew 7:6, the Bible gives us concrete illustration that you cannot expect someone to value something that you deem precious, such as the kingdom of God, just because you said so. It’s because one cannot completely understand something he has just heard of and have not seen or experience. We have heard about this several times in the saying, “Experience is the best teacher”. Learning is exemplified if one can relate to it through his senses; the more senses the person use, the better the learning experience becomes.
In Matthew 7:7, the Bible asks us to ask. Previous sermons and study groups usually relates this verse to asking God’s providence for often material needs. I now understand how short-sighted that is. This verse tells us more than God’s ability to provide for our material needs- it tells us that His presence should be our first and foremost concern when we want to invite others to the kingdom. The kingdom is His and we are mere servants. We cannot decide for ourselves who we want Him to call and unless He shows His face, all our efforts would be wasted.
Translating these verses to our church life, I believe that if we want our church to grow in numbers, we need to strengthen our prayer ministry. I admit that I do not find our prayer ministry fulfilling because I feel that there is really no clear direction on what we are praying about. The church simply prays for needs – without allotting time to ask God to reveal Himself to us. I find it much fulfilling to join the church in prayer during the divine worship (Iglesia sa Panalangin) because during this time, we acknowledge God’s presence in the fulfillment of our church visions.
Personally, I have not really spend much time praying for someone to see God. I must say I really have not thought about it and have not really played an active role in inviting others to the kingdom. However, I really felt blessing in what we’re doing and somehow, I have started praying – not for needs, but for others to see God’s face.