From the archives:
There was a time when I used a “Come-Along” almost every day. This versatile little hand winch finds a thousand uses in farming and ranching country.
Frankly, I don’t recall thinking about this device for many years now. A recent conversation between fellow soccer parents did, however, bring it to mind. Between break a way’s, we were discussing floods and hurricanes. One of the parents related to another how she and her husband cleared fallen trees from their driveway, following Hurricane Isabel.
“How’d you move that big tree trunk out of the way?” her friend asked.
“It was simple.” the woman replied. “Well, it was simple after one of our neighbors loaned us his—what do you call that thingy, Honey?”
“A come-along,” he said, trying to concentrate on the game.
With a nod, her friend signaled she understood. All eyes returned to the soccer drama unfolding on the field. Mine too, but my mind was more than a thousand miles away reliving an amalgamation of youthful experiences. I was in a field down by the river, pulling on the lever of a come-along. I was causing a heavy piece of equipment to do what would be impossible without this incredible little device in my hands.
My thoughts then sped back in time further. I could see Simon’s brother Andrew excitedly racing up to him exclaiming, “We have found the Messiah!” He continued, “Come along with me and see for yourself.” In fact, upon concluding that Jesus was the Messiah, “the first thing Andrew did was find his brother Simon and tell him” this Good News.
This same process repeated itself the next day. After Philip concluded Jesus was the “one Moses wrote about,” he immediately found Nathanael. He urged him to “come and see” that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah.
At some point after this, it occurred to me: Christians should serve as “come-alongs.” We serve as a link between God and those heavy objects which are often difficult to set in motion—people who need to move closer to God. We are a device in God’s hands which, through gentle—but, relentless—ratcheting draws people closer to Him through the Messiah. As Andrew connected his brother to the Christ—as Philip connected his friend Nathanael to Christ—so, also, should modern-day Christ-followers be connecting others to Him!
This is precisely what happened in the life of practically every believer. Someone knowingly, willingly and determinedly placed his or her life in the hands of God and said, “Use me to connect others to You.” Christ-followers are not told to tell people to go to Jesus. Indeed, we are people on the go, making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). To borrow from another metaphor Jesus employed to impress this lesson on our hearts, disciples are to fish for people, not be keepers of aquariums. Through our talking, our teaching and our taking the message of Christ to the world, we are the connecting link between fellow humans and our God.
Our friends, relatives, acquaintances and neighbors—everyone in our sphere of influence—should, by virtue of their “connection” with us, find a connection with God. They should hear from us more than an occasional invitation to “go to church.” The consistent message they should hear from each of our lives and our lips is “Come along with me and see for yourself!”
© Bill Williams, a fellow sojourners
September 3, 2016