Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Disciple Pickers

I started watching a new shows on Netflix tonight titled "American Pickers." I had heard of this show before and assumed it was a show about apple pickers or something. I was a good bit off in my thinking. The show is about two men who basically pick through junk. They run an antique store and search for things to sale. Just to be able to see a lot of the history they find, and so many people with so many stories had me sold after just two episodes. Watching this reminded me a lot of Christian evangelism. Their method for doing their job and finding what their desire seemed much like the Christian searching for souls in the first century.

With the help of Danielle, Mike and Frank search for leads. They post advertisements, search blogs and sale sites for people looking to get rid of things and follow leads through the grapevine. This reminded me of Paul going from city to city and looking in places known for those with religious interest. He would go to the synagogues on the Sabbath knowing that Jews would be there and in a mind to think on religious things. He knew the places where the spiritually minded would be and went there with the intent to do all he could reach the end he desired, saving souls.

When the leads don't work, Mike and Frank begin a process they call the free style. This is really just the two men going from place to place hoping to come across something they could use in their shop. The two literally just go until they see something that might provide some junk. Sometimes a location seems good but provides nothing, and somethings a place that looks like nothing gives them plenty. Paul's trip to Athens, recorded in Acts 17, might be thought of here. Paul had simply stopped in Athens to wait, but found it full of idols and decided to preach the Gospel. I don't know what he expected, but here he found some who were interested in the truth. Paul going "from house to house" (Acts 20:20) might be connected here as well, with the idea that Paul went searching. He didn't know what would ever turn up, maybe little, maybe plenty, but there were times where he simply went searching for souls.

Sometimes the two might find something they want, but the owner isn't willing to sell it. In the same way, sometimes the Gospel might be presented to someone, but they don't grab onto it the first time the opportunity is given. There were three things I had noticed they did in order to keep a possibility of the owners wanting to sell in the future.

One tactic is to keep in touch and basically pester the person with their interest. They claim they don't stop until the person asks them to not call them anymore. Often times we give evangelism with someone one shot and if they don't take grasp of the Gospel then and there, then it is time to dust our feet and move on. More often than not, it just doesn't happen overnight. There needs to be the constant reminder that you care and want to discuss these things with the person.

The second tactic is to simply let People sit on their thoughts for a while. One man was trying to sell old carnival rides and wanted a good deal of money. The pickers offered him $1,500 cash but he turned them down. He sat on that number for a day or two, ended up calling them back and taking the money they offered for the ride. Again, it often seems that when someone begins to show an interest in the Gospel and seems to have a desire to obey the Lord we expect them to act then and there. Sometimes it just doesn't work that way though. The person needs time to think about the commitment they're about to make. Christianity is a life altering decision and should not be made on the whim. It would be better sometimes to let the person think about it and be concrete in their decision than to push them into it, only to have them regret it afterward.

Finally I noticed that Mike and Frank treat the people they meet like friends. They treat them as just a means for them to make some money, but from the moment they meet someone, they talk to them as if they've known them forever. Is this a means to make their desired end more possible? Of course it is, but I don't doubt that they really do have fun with, and like to be around these people. They want to be able to buy something from them so they can sell it to someone else, but they also foster relationships with these people which help that happen. I remember a brother telling me about an evangelism campaign that took place where he worshiped. They went door to door, letting people know about the church located where he was, but also to ask if they could do anything, or if the people they met needed anything. They showed the people that they had concern for them, and it ended in greater results than most usually see. The people saw that these Christians weren't just out teaching because they felt that had to in order to go to heaven or to look for a theological fight, but because these people actually cared about them physically and spiritually. A friendship, even if it is brand new can make the end result of a situation totally different.

It came from an unexpected source, but this show really reminded me of evangelism. It isn't just to go out and see how many doors we can knock, or to come back feeling satisfied if we were able to get in a discussion with a person about the Bible that left us feeling justified about defending the truth. Evangelism should be present in an individual's life because of the desire we have for souls. There is something we want (for others to be saved) and we will do what it takes to make that happen.

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