In a church class setting recently, some friends and I were studying ways to turn everyday conversations into gospel conversations (turns out there’s a book with that title). This training involved role playing, which is awkward at best and terrifying at its worst. We all struggled. But then something eye-opening happened for me. It was a not-new comment by one of the ladies in response to my encouragement to draw an oikos map with names of people nearest me who are not following Jesus. This sweet lady, maybe in her early 70’s said she couldn’t think of anyone she knew who is not already following Jesus.
What surprised me wasn’t her comment, but my thought pattern as I reflected on her comment. I wasn’t surprised because most of us who have been reared in a thick churchy culture tend to stay in that thick churchy culture. I know we will find ways to be with others who are likeminded – even at work or recreational places. I know that because I do it too. I immediately commented that this is surely one of our greatest problems – that we hole up with our own.
Jesus told us we “are the light of the world, a town on a hill that cannot be hidden.” He also told us we “are the salt of the earth.” I’ve known those statements by Jesus for many, many years. But for the first time, I really began to think about them practically. How?
Well, if you are at the beach on a bright, sunny day and you turn on a flashlight – so what? Who will notice? Likewise, look at this picture… this is a rare picture the Morton Salt Mine located 2,000 feet below Lake Erie. If you go in there with some salt of your own, what difference will it make? Who cares?
You can see the point easily – I don’t claim this to be rocket science here. That salt mine is like your holy huddle. When we spend all of our time with light-filled, salty Christians, we will never advance the good news of Jesus Christ to grow the Kingdom of God. The only way out of this predicament is to consciously, intentionally plan to be with people who are not following Jesus. Once there, then we may let our lights so shine and season the environment with our salt. We must share the gospel (good news) that people can be forgiven of their sins because of the work Jesus did for us.
So – where are you strategically placing yourself to be in the world? If we are more intentional, maybe those conversations would happen more and more frequently and take the edge off our awkwardness. Maybe?