I read recently that the unemployment rate in Oklahoma has dropped again, bringing it to 4.1 percent. So Oklahoma has approximately 4.1 percent of eligible workers who are without jobs. While we wish every person seeking a job could find one, this unemployment rate is considered quite good.
This information caused me to think about the unemployment rate in the church. Rule of thumb in the church is that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. The same is true of giving in support of the work of the church.
But if you were to look at the number of members engaged at any level as laborers in the harvest, the number would be far less than 20 percent. Thus, only a small percentage are actively praying for and sharing the Gospel with people who are lost and without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
This reality speaks to the level of intimacy with Christ on the part of church members. How can I say that with certainty? Simple. Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” If we walk with Jesus, we will be about the business of sharing the Good News. Why? Because Jesus is about finding lost sheep!
To follow Jesus is to walk in the normal traffic patterns of life with an ear and eye to those around us, or to walk along the road and hear a blind man crying out for mercy. Jesus had an ear for those who were silenced by others.
Are you willing to listen to the people around you? I mean really listen. Are you willing to sort through the smoke screens they throw at you and really hear the cry of their heart? Will you care enough to stop and listen and then show them the love of Christ and share His Good News with them?
Following Jesus means noticing a short man up in a tree. This was no ordinary short man. He was a wealthy, hated and despised tax collector. Jesus noticed him when others were so caught up in their own experience they failed to see him. Do you walk in your circles with an eye to the outcast—rich or poor—who needs someone to notice them and care about them?
Full employment in the church is not just about filling a spot in Sunday School, on the worship team or on a committee. Full employment in the church is about the people who follow Jesus being His ears, eyes and voice in the harvest fields next door, across the street, at work and at play.
If I follow Jesus, I will begin to pick up His heart and His ways. He will lead me into the highways and byways of life where people are. He will prompt me, and I will listen to His voice when I encounter those who need a witness. Why? Because to follow Jesus always takes us into interactive moments of witness. This was His pattern, and it is His way for us.
To follow Jesus is to walk in relationship with Him. As you listen to Him and spend time with Him, you will begin to have His mind and heart. When you do, it will always lead you into fishing for men.
It’s time for the church to drop the unemployment rate. Time to take up the vocation of fishing for men in the lost world around us.