How do you respond to those that are seeking the truth? A rabbinical story is told in the Talmud about how different rabbis responded to one seeking to convert to Judaism. "There was another case of a gentile who came before Shammai. He said to him, 'Convert me on the stipulation that you teach me the entire Torah while I am standing on one foot.' He drove him off with the building cubit that he had in his hand. He came before Hillel: 'Convert me.' He said to him,‘What is hateful to you, to your fellow don’t do.’ That’s the entirety of the Torah; everything else is elaboration. So go, study." Shammai is much like some Christian workers today that seek to make it difficult to follow Yeshua. Contrary to Shammai, Hillel sought a method to make conversion as easy as possible. He understood that the journey of discipleship was a process. Yeshua followed the method of Hillel. He said, "Come unto me all that labor and are burdened down. Take my yoke upon you because it is easy." Now Yeshua also said that His followers had to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. There is no contradiction. There is a difference between starting the journey of faith and being mature in faith. Too often, we want new believers to be fully born and knowledgeable about all aspects of the faith.
We need to embrace the gentle approach of Yeshua. He is kind to those that seek Him. He promises to not turn away those that seek Him. What is our approach to new opportunities to share our faith? I have seen the "hell fire and brimstone" approach of the Westboro Baptist Church and I have seen the "seeker sensitive" method that places no requirements for discipleship. Neither is Yeshua's method. He taught that His followers had to repent. We have previously seen that the word picture for "repent" is "to destroy the house." Repentance is about changing the kingdom you reside in. The one following Yeshua has changed from darkness to light. There is a relationship with YHWH founded on the renewed covenant meditated by Yeshua. It is a better covenant because the Torah is now written on our hearts instead of tablets of stone. However, the Torah has not changed.
We need to respond to those in spirtual need like Hillel and Yeshua. Hillel went against the norm of the day by making conversion to Judaism as easy as possible. In the same way, Yeshua made discipleship as easy as it could be. You had to change your address, i.e. from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, but that was it. There is much to learn and it will take time to mature. We need to place as few barriers as possible between the seeker and YHWH. As someone once said, "We catch the fish, but He cleans them."
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