Catching fish has come a long way since the net-fishing days of Peter, Andrew, James and John. I know a man, for example, who helped invent sonar equipment for finding fish. He founded and ran a successful company that designed and manufactured sonar gadgetry for the fishing industry in the pacific northwest. His stories were fascinating. One, in particular, really stuck with me. It seems that he had been working on a difficult new system and found himself stumped with a certain feature of the design. Because the schematics of the device were posted on a board in his shop, the company janitor would often stop by to look over his shoulder and ask questions. Seeing Ken frustrated the cleaning man asked, “Have you thought of trying it this way?” The simple suggestion turned into a eureka moment for the surprised engineer! What had been plainly under his nose took the fresh perspective of an untrained bystander to see. “Sometimes things can be overly-designed and complicated. It’s easy to let blind spots develop,” my friend said.
The answer to many things often lies in keeping it simple. A case in point: Christians can get “blind spots,” too, and we often need pointers in simplicity. Watch us at times and you might think we’re waiting on someone to invent a complex outreach device for finding lost people. I can say this because I’ve contributed to my share of “unwieldy” ideas about evangelism. Good intentions aside, when we abandon common sense in favor of overly complicated ideas for reaching people we’re likely headed for deadends and frustration. There’s just is no substitute for the Jesus-modeled simplicity of building intentional, life-giving relationships that lead people to God.
Don’t sit around waiting on the “perfect opportunity” to come your way for making disciples. Be proactive! It’s a cop-out to wait or to depend on somebody else to do outreach for us. The problem with waiting is that we miss everyday, common-place opportunities with people that God places in our paths. Much of the solution lies in making a decision to do something and in getting started.
Spring and summer are coming. Fire up your grill and invite the neighbors over for a hamburger. Turn backyard conversations into friendships. Build intentional relationships that will lead to opportunities for “doing life” with people who don’t know the love of God. Look for teachable moments. Be intentional and keep it simple. God will do the rest.
“Go and make disciples…I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Jesus, in Matthew 28:19a and 20b)
“I will make you fishers of men.” (Jesus in Mark 1:17)