I’m tired, I’m overwhelmed, and I’m mentally worn out because I wake up each day eager to find a solution, that I have to admit, I’m still not close to solving. You see, I have a problem. A problem that is slowly eating away at me. A problem that discourages me, burdens me and makes me wonder why I even try.

My problem is you – the uninterested, uninvested, uncommitted Christian. You’re the reason I wake up every day with enthusiasm and you’re the reason I go to bed many nights worn out, defeated, and wondering, “why do I keep on doing this?” You’re the person I pray the most about. You’re the reason I work diligently to prepare sermons that are engaging, informative, and (hopefully) life-changing. You’re the reason I fret over the smallest of details hoping they’ll be what finally motivates you. 

You’re also the reason I dread phone calls late at night. You’re the person I most hope will surprise me at my office or while I’m out in public. You’re the person I hope catches me off guard, pulls me aside, or even asks me those pointed questions I often fear. You’re the person I think of when I begin a sermon and when I offer the invitation. You’re the reason I can’t escape my deepest, darkest feelings of inadequacy. You’re the question I can’t answer, the problem I can’t solve, and the reason I often feel like a failure.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m worried about you. I see you give time, effort, and energy into worldly pursuit after worldly pursuit. I see you give your kids all the attention they need on the ballfield but none of it in worship, let alone, Bible class. I see you drift in-and-out of worship trying to avoid eye contact and any meaningful fellowship. I see you sneak out the side door as soon as the closing prayer is said and worship is done and I see you ignore any opportunity the congregation provides you to give more than the slightest effort of participation.

I see you and I long for more. I want to be a bigger part of your life but I know deep down you won’t let me. I long for you to open up, but I doubt it’ll ever happen. I long for reassurances that I’m not the reason you avoid a commitment with God. I pray that my words haven’t discouraged you, I hope my work hasn’t alienated you and I suffer because I know, at the end of the day, you’ll never really let me know the answer to those questions. 

Despite all that discouragement, I still hope. I pray today will be the day that everything changes. I long for a reunion like that of Jacob and Joseph, a renewed kinship like that of Jacob and Esau, an embrace like that of Paul and John Mark. I know all is not lost while there is still breath in your lungs and time in our lives. I hope today will be the day I’m in the right place with the right words or the right actions that encourage you and I pray if it can’t be me, then someone will give you what I long to provide.

I pray today will be the day God becomes the most important person in your life. I long for the opportunity to make good on my promise to be your brother through thick-and-thin. Today, I hope, because I’m your friend. I pray tomorrow I’ll be your brother.