Avoid One and Done

I have discovered a proliferation of door to door sales people here in Washington as compared to rural Minnesota where I lived for 44 years. I’ve had people come by trying to sell me home security services, pest control and lawn services. I listen to their sales pitch but I tell them that I am not going to buy anything now but rather I want to do my own research. I want to get to know their company and what they are selling. I want to trust them before I make an investment. They usually don’t like this response as they want the sale now.

The same mentality is often seen among Christians. One presents the Gospel to someone and then wants to see the fruits of their efforts now. They want to make an instant “sale” and then move on; feeling good that their numbers are going up. This tactic, though, is rarely effective in the long term, especially for the one “buying the product”. One and done evangelism is often more damaging to the one being evangelized. It’s like selling someone a whatchamacallit without an owners manual.

Instead, we need to spend time with people and develop relationships with them.  We can’t have a “one and done” mentality. We need to invest in people, provide for any needs, be a guide and help them along the way as they grow in Christ. When you look at the early church in Acts, the apostles spent time in the towns in which they planted churches. They didn’t just preach and go. They weren’t one and done evangelists. They invested in people.

Door to door ministry can be effective, but only if a relationship eventually ensues. Leading people to Christ can be a time consuming thing but it is important work as we are called and commanded to “Go therefore and make disciples…”. Spend time with people and live out your faith. Show them Christ’s love through your words and deeds. Be a “little Jesus” to them. Walk with them and when the opportunity presents itself, tell them about Jesus. Basically, earn the right to be heard.

So all you door to door sales people, don’t expect me to buy what you’re selling until I get to know you. Make an investment in me and earn my trust. Not practical for you, I know, but for you, Christian, it is. It’s what Jesus and the apostles did. Follow him and walk AS Jesus did and don’t be a one and done evangelist.

The Pastor -|—

Just shut up and follow

I have been doing some pondering this week about what it means to be called.  The Gospel text for this Sunday (Jan 22) is Mark 1:14-20.  Here Jesus is walking along; encounters some guys and simply says “Come, follow me”.  And these rabbi school rejects drop everything to follow Jesus.

They leave behind a somewhat stable income.
They leave behind a place to live.
They leave behind family and friends.
They leave behind their careers.
They leave behind their comfort zones.

Just like that they go and follow Jesus.  No argument. No negotiating.  They go and follow Jesus.  At least some of those characters in Old Testament tried to object:

I’m too young. (Jeremiah)
I’m a man of unclean lips. (Isaiah)
I don’t speak so well. (Moses)
We’re too old. (Abraham and Sarah)

That sounds more like me.

But God has a response for those excuses and so they follow…and God is faithful…and God accomplishes what God set out to do through them.  As if there should have been any doubt.  God is awesome and God knows what he is doing.

If that be the case (and it is) why do I think I can offer up an excuse for why I can’t or shouldn’t follow?  Do I really believe I can convince God that He made the wrong choice?  Do I really think I can talk God out of what God has in mind for me?  Do I really think that God doesn’t know me better than I know myself?

Silly man!

So whatever excuse you have used to not follow God…throw them out the window.  They’re no good.  When God says “Follow” simply recall to mind Psalm 23 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me” .

Think also of Jesus’ promise from Matthew 28 “…and lo, I am with you even to the very end of the age.”

When God commands you to follow, God is not going to leave you stranded.
When God commands you to follow, God will not leave you orphaned.
When God commands you to follow, God WILL do amazing things through you.

So just follow.
Stop the arguing.
Repent and preach the Good News of Jesus Christ died and risen FOR YOU.
And then…watch the fireworks…praising God always and forever.


edh -|—