I’m writing this from one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been: Yosemite National Park. My friend Wes and I went camping and later today we will go hiking. I may write on the park later, but for now I’m going to talk about something we spoke about over a campfire last night. He made a statement that I’d like to elaborate on. He said “I don’t care about evangelism…I don’t care how it’s ‘supposed to be’. ” There was a time when I would have called him a “lukewarm christian” for saying such a thing, but not now.
In thinking about what he meant, I (Jesus in me probably) came up with an analogy to help explain what he means to someone who may still be eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (see Gen 2).
Think of a mechanic: (s)he has a whole variety of tools from which to work with, depending on the issue that needs to be dealt with. For some issues you use a spark plug, for others you need a hatchet wrench (I actually don’t know what a hatchet wrench is, but I’ve heard of it and it sounds better than just saying wrench), and so on. 🙂 So it is with Jesus: he has an infinite variety of tools with which to work, depending on which issue needs addressing. Evangelism is a tool, so are all the practices that we typically associate with being a Christian: singing praise songs, Bible reading, outreach, discipleship, quiet-time, meditation, etc, etc, etc…
I can admit that for a long time in my life I took the place of The Lord and presumed to know which tools were needed for which issue. In retrospect that’s about as foolish as me going into a mechanic’s shop and trying to fix my car on my own instead of going to the mechanic and letting him do it. (I’d probably end up damaging my car worse anyway!)
So I agree with Wes: I don’t care about evangelism, I don’t care about bible study, I don’t care about discipleship… I don’t care anything about any of these tools. I care about the mechanic!!! Now, if the mechanic choses to use the tool of evangelism, or discipleship, or bible study, well in that case The Lord is in it and I will be as well.
It may seem like a subtle difference, but its as important as the difference between the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the hand of the master mechanic Jesus, a practice is saturated with Life, in the hands of a well-intentioned Christian that is not led by The Lord, a practice is saturated with the Knowledge of Good.
My walk with The Lord has actually reflected this belief for some time, but I needed the Body (in this case Wes) to put it into words that I hadn’t thought to before. Thanks to Wes, and thanks to Jesus!