September 1, 2014

Worth Asking

One of my dreaded weekly tasks as a pastor’s wife is asking people to come over after church for lunch. 

 I like hospitality. I like grocery shopping and cooking. I like the extra motivation to clean the house. I love the eventual visiting around the table. But I don’t like inviting.

I am so frequently rejected.

I start early in the week: discussing with my husband whom he thinks we should ask, picking up the phone, tracking people down. And then, one after another, I usually hear a long series of “no, thanks.”

People are busy; I get that. They have very legitimate reasons for turning me down—sick kids, other invitations, travel, fatigue. I don’t think their “no” is a personal commentary on my house, or my food, or my family. But it would not be an exaggeration to say that I regularly ask five families for every one that accepts my invitation.

After all these years, I now brace myself for “no” while I dial the phone. While I’m prepping the food, I also try to get ready for rejection.

Sometimes I get all the way to Saturday night, and I’m standing in front of a sink full of dirty pots and pans, and I still haven’t heard a “yes.” Sometimes I cry.

There might be a lesson here for people who receive invitations, but there’s also a lesson for those of us who get turned down. I preach it to myself every week:

It’s worth asking.

When I ask someone to come for lunch (or if I can watch their kids, or if I can run to the grocery store for them) I am saying, “I love you.” I’m saying, “I haven’t forgotten about you. I remember that you are my brother or my sister.” And I hope that by my asking, the members of my Christian family know they are loved.

When I invite someone, I am also saying, “I want to be with you. I want to know how you are and what the Lord is doing in your life. I want to see your smile in person.” Being present with other believers is important—it’s hard to ignore someone with whom you share the same space, hard to miss their sorrows and joys when you are looking in their eyes. And by asking someone to Sunday lunch, I am expressing my desire for closer fellowship with them.

And I am offering to sacrifice something for them. I’m making the first move in dying to self by offering to buy groceries, to use energy to cook, to save time for visiting with them. I’m extending a concrete offer to give.

They might say “no.” And they often do. But I hope that it was worth asking. I hope my phone call reminded them that I love them. And I hope maybe they’ll come another week.


  1. Thank you for your honesty. I tend to give up too quickly, in fear of being too pushy. But, at the end of my life, I would rather look back and see lots of ministry done and a few times that maybe I was too pushy than to look back on so many relationships not entered into deeply because of fear of rejection. Thank you for your example.

  2. As someone who has to turn down or cancel plans due to unexpected providences, I can say that it means so much to me when someone continues to pursue us to spend time with our family. I hope that they can also say it's worth the wait after trying for so long!

    1. That's an encouragement to me to keep on asking! Thanks, sister.

  3. Yes! This is often how I feel. Thanks for the encouragement to keep pressing on!


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