By Bishop James Swanson, Sr.
This year our family took a cruise in the Gulf of Mexico on the “Fun Ship.” It turned out to be an enjoyable experience.
The staff of the ship do all they can to make sure you have a cruise filled with fun and memorable events.
The cruise line wants to make sure you laugh and enjoy yourself so much that you will want to return to the "Fun Ship" over and over again.
They were not satisfied with you taking one cruise or even a second cruise. They wanted you to take a life-time of cruises.
I saw this in the hospitality extended to me and others by every employee that I engaged. The steward, who cleaned our room, made it his business to know our names after only having met us once. Our room was attended to at least three times each day and the steward even stopped by to remind us when it was dinner time.
The persons who attended to us during dinner were equally courteous. They also knew our names. And even those who were not personally responsible for us engaged us in conversations with smiles on their faces.
Now the point of this for me is simple. I asked myself, “James, when you give invitations to Christian discipleship, do you only think of the people who come forward in that moment?”
What if we gave the invitation with this thought in mind: “We will become lifelong friends, fellow travelers, growing together in Christ. I'm dependent on them and they are dependent on me. I need their love and they need my love.
“We're going to have great fun together.”
So, what if you took this attitude whenever a new man crossed your path, attended the same church you attend or joined that church?
Dear Lord, help me be faithful to being “the fun ship” in my invitation, attitude and interaction with others. Amen
Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr., president
General Commission on United Methodist Men