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I used to love to go to Sam’s club. When I was going to school in Memphis, Tenn, I would swing by and “visit” the store to look around and then make my rounds for the free samples and that would be my lunch (Hey! Don’t judge me. It was good eats and it was free!)
But here was the problem. I wasn’t a member of Sam’s club. I always felt like an outsider. I didn’t have a Sam’s Club card, no Sam’s Club badge, not even a Sam’s Club T-shirt. No matter how many times I was there, I never was truly part of Sam’s Club. I always worried that what if they found out that I didn’t have a card and then booted me out for eating all their samples. Where would I get my free lunch at? Oh....the horror!
Then something changed. What was it you may ask? It was one of the sweet ladies that checked the cards at the front. As I came in, she asked to see my card and I told her that I was not a member but just wanted to look around. Now most of the greeters would just give me a look like “oh, you are one of those cheap guys!” and then pass me on through reminding me that I couldn’t buy anything. Even though I was allowed in, I didn’t feel welcomed or wanted. In fact, I often felt like they couldn’t wait for me to get out of there (probably because of the rounds I made for the samples.) But this woman did something different. She said, “Would you like to become a Sam’s club member? I can show you how. It is really easy.”
Now, after all the times I had been through those doors and even though I knew how to become a member, this was the first time someone had actually asked me to join their “club”. So since this lady was so sweet, and she had such a sweet smile and spirit about her… I couldn’t say no. I joined and soon I was walking around Sam’s club flashing my fancy membership card to everyone around me (especially those other mean greeters that used to give me the mean looks!)
Now, she did charge me to join the club (boo!)...but at least she invited me in. I wonder how many people would love to be part of God’s kingdom and a part of a local church family yet just have never had anyone actually ask them or tell them how to become a Christian. Let me ask you, do you know anyone around you in your life who might be waiting for you to simply say, “Hey, want to go to church with me this Sunday?” You might be surprised how many people will say yes when you simply ask. So.........get to asking!
(Barry Robinson is the pastor of Williamstown United Methodist Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 859-823-5171.)