Nets and Networks

Today, I’m working on the final week of my class on Pastoral Counseling and I wanted to share an excerpt from something I submitted in an assignment.  This is an idea that’s been developing in my mind and heart and (so far) this is the best way I’ve put it into words:

“This idea of uniquely walking out the path of God before you, according to your gifts and God’s direction is one that has been coming up for me over and over again in ministry and as we speak to churches and individuals.  I have an image in my mind of a circle or network going out from each of us to touch all the people of the world who need Christ.  My net or network can’t possible reach the whole world, but with my net and your net and the nets of all the Christians in the world, God is making good on his promise to fish the whole world for people who would follow Christ.”

What I love about this image is that it takes the pressure off a little bit…but it also puts a different kind of pressure on at the same time.  It takes the pressure off in the sense that you don’t have to save the world (Jesus already did that, if you hadn’t noticed).  The salvation of the whole world doesn’t rest on your shoulders.  Whew!

It also puts the pressure on, because you have your circle, your net, your network of influence into which you can uniquely bring Christ.  Neither some mythical super-Christian, your pastor nor “the missionaries” can reach the people God has given you to influence.

The only one who can obey God and bring Christ into the spaces in your life where He is needed is you.

Isn’t that like God, to take our misplaced sense of responsibility and replace it with His perfect expectation for each of us?  Sometimes it means letting go of our hero-complex and sometimes it means being willing to step up into the fullness of the name Christian and bring Christ into the hurting world right where we are.

Who has God entrusted to you to be their gospel-bearer?  Are you faithfully bringing Christ into the spaces and places God has entrusted to you?