Sunday, September 1, 2013

Chain Reaction

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

-- Acts 6:7 

In 1914, Rube Goldberg began drawing his famous cartoon series that illustrated machines performing simple, mundane tasks in ridiculously intricate and tedious ways. For example, Goldberg's "Automatic Weight Reducing Machine" featured components including a doughnut, a bomb, a balloon--and a hot stove--to trap an obese person inside a food-proof prison. Once the prisoner had lost enough weight, he could wiggle through his cell's bars to freedom. 

By 1931, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Dominoswas listing "Rube Goldberg" as an adjective defined as "accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply." Today, nearly a century after that first cartoon, Rube Goldberg contests are still held in school classrooms around the world to build imaginative machines that do just that.

There are some definite parallels between Goldberg's chain reaction fantasies and real God-inspired faith. For many Christ-followers, their journey toward belief was simple and mundane. They grew up in church, learned about Jesus and eventually embraced their need for a Savior. But for many other Believers, their story is much like a Rube Goldberg cartoon. So let's consider this scenario: 

She (or he) was born into a family that didn't go to church or have a Bible in the house. As an adult, she left town to find work in another state. That's where she met a co-worker of a non-Christian faith. Discussions about this co-worker's beliefs led the future Christ-follower to question her own values and purpose in life. And then while channel-surfing one Sunday morning, she came across a televised worship service where the pastor shared the Gospel message. This, in turn, brought about an "a-ha" moment, which led the new Seeker to find and join a Bible-preaching, faith-filled neighborhood church. 

The route here was anything but direct. But it was the one she took to begin her faith journey toward God.

A primary mission for our church--as well as for every Christ-follower in it--is to connect people to Jesus and to one another. Getting the ball rolling might be simple in some cases, such as by inviting a neighbor or sibling to a worship service. On the other hand, you might be a single gear of a complex Rube Goldberg machine by being in the right place, time and circumstance to interact with someone you've never met--and in a way you've never considered.

Either way, pray for God to use you in His spiritual chain reactions.

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