This summer I attended a garden tour in my community and got to see many interesting plants and flowers. One of the interesting concepts that caught my attention was that there are particular plants that are called attractors because they attract butterflies. Not just any plant attracts any butterfly, but only certain plants attract very particular butterflies. For instance, black-eyed Susans are known attractors of Monarch butterflies, asters attract Painted Lady butterflies, and zinnias draw Swallowtail butterflies.
It strikes me that this idea could be applied to our Christian witness. First of all, are we living as Christian “attractors,” that is to say, are we people who draw others closer to know more about our faith by the way we live? Or are we living in such a way that we “repel” others from the faith and send them flying to other pastures of religion? I am reminded of Jesus’ words, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our role is to attract others to the glory of God revealed in us. How can we go about that? I so often am personally attracted to the faith present in those who respond to a difficulty in their lives with hope and grace and confidence that God is in charge of the outcome. Our faith-filled reactions to the inevitable troubles that life throws at us serve as attractors to others who are intrigued and curious about such responses that are counter to what secular society expects.
The other application from this attractor idea is that we, too, are uniquely designed by God to be specifically present to very particular people in our lives. I am always amazed by the fact that God put me in this time and this place to be living and working with certain individuals who may not know the saving message of Jesus Christ. In many cases you might be the only attractor to someone specific in your life who desperately needs to know that they are loved and forgiven and saved through the suffering, death and resurrection of our Savior.
Be on the lookout for people who are searching for meaning and direction and attract them to the Good News of Jesus you have to share by praying with them, reading Scripture together or inviting them to church with you.
Like flowers and butterflies, this leading of others to faith is a beautiful thing.