I live in a small town of 2000 people. It is by most standards, a very happy town. We aren't inundated by a lot of big business and I guess most of the town likes it that way. We have our local merchants and we seem quite content with that. I commute to the big city, but I like coming home to my small town.
Part of the local community is its local churches. Every town has them. You can usually see the board when you come into a town. They often have a list of the local churches in the community. My husband and I just happen to live a few blocks down from the Kingdom Hall (JW church) . They are part of my small town too. This means we get our share of drop in visits from time to time.
I remember the first year I lived here, there was a lady who would come by often. I can't remember her name now so I will call her Doris. I even invited her in for tea once. I figured if I gave her some hospitality, it may turn into a friendship. I was new in the town and a friend seemed like a good idea at the time.
Long story short, Doris didn't offer friendship. She just offered her religion and I wasn't interested in buying it. But looking back, had she offered friendship... I would have taken her up on that.
Let's redirect for a moment and talk about ants. I have them in my lawn. I will dig one hill up and another one surfaces. I have ant killer and have used that to discourage the growth of the colony, but in the end, I just take my shovel and dig up the whole hill and it leaves a wound in my lawn that takes time to heal.
So... much like the ants and dandelions... the local JW congregation keeps sending us visitors. I haven't seen Doris for years, but the church hasn't given up on us. Yesterday... Saturday morning was our most recent visit. I had to go to work very early, and my husband had gone back to bed to catch some more Z's. Well.. the JW guests, rang the doorbell at 8 am. I am guessing from my husband's sharing of the story, their timing wasn't the best.
What do we do here to discourage these impromptu visits? Put the sign on the door? I am not ready to do that, but it may come to that. Our own family and friends don't drop in on our door at eight o'clock on a Saturday morning uninvited. Most people schedule that sort of thing first. That seems appropriate in today's world.
So what are my options? People are not ants or dandelions. I can't run over them with a lawnmower or get after them with a shovel... they may be uninvited guests at my house, but they aren't uninvited guests at my Father's house.
Maybe next time I come to the door, I can ask my Father for his heart. He has the heart that longs to have every one of the sheep in His fold. He has invited them all. They are not irritating pests or inconveniences to their Creator.
There are a few things I think about that don't always come out of my mouth when the JW's come to call.
1. I have absolutely no interest in religion anymore.
2. I don't want to bible duel with the missionaries anymore either. Even though at times it is still tempting, I have finally come to realize just how ineffective and pointless is it.
3. Just because someone belongs to a religious organization that I don't want to be a part of... doesn't mean that I couldn't be a friend if a friendship was offered. I know it works.
4. I don't have to much respect for people that can't share Jesus without sharing their labels, literature, and club meetings.
5. I am convinced that JW evangelism methods have been outdated for a long time. People don't usually develop relationships by knocking on doors, but they can easily prevent them.
6. They leave tracts... and no name and number. What if I was interested in connecting with an actual person... they don't give me that opportunity.
I just had this thought. I am married today, because I dropped in uninvited at this same house. My now husband (but then.. ex-coworker and estranged friend) was sleeping at the time and didn't make it to the door before I gave up and drove away. What made the difference? I left my contact information with no agenda or expectations. He called me back and the rest is history.
Well... those are my thoughts today. I guess I will see what happens at my next opportunity. Today... well today I took a mower to the dandelions and still have to take a shovel to my ants. But as for the next uninvited guest. I will leave that opportunity in the hands of my Father.