It doesn’t happen often, but I was very early for an appointment. A friend and I were to meet at the mall for a lunch meeting. With time to kill I began a trip around my favorite places in the mall. A quick stop at the restroom, (I realize it’s not too cool to talk about visiting the men’s room but it does add relevance to the point I’m making), to well… and wash my hands with really nice scented soap and dry my hands with an ample supply of paper towels in a rather pleasant room of tile and mirrors. Next I went to visit a nice lady at Paradise Bakery who graciously awarded me a cup of ice water for free. With ice water in hand I found a great place to sit at a comfortable table in the food court and began to people watch. I found myself enjoying the sites and sounds and mostly the air conditioning (It was a rather warm August day). Then it dawned on me,,, I am sitting here enjoying a great deal of luxuries for free. Why? How? Then I began to feel somewhat guilty thinking, “If I were a homeless guy, security would have thrown me out by now.” Why was I allowed to stay and enjoy such things? The answer is simple…I am a part of the network; the network of commerce. The reason why I have such privileges at the mall is my back pocket has a wallet in it with cash and credit cards. That makes me a consumer and all consumers are welcome at the mall. I have use of this multi-million dollar facility for free because I am part of the network.
This scenario made me think about something I learned in my first year at seminary. My professor who taught “Intro to Missions” made a very interesting statement our first day of class. He stated, “God allowed Rome to dominate the world in the first century, creating a wonderful system of roads, establishing a common language, and establishing peace in most regions, to maximize the spreading of the Gospel.” I have never forgotten that statement. I thought it profound. The point is, Rome did all the hard work and bore the expense, and the Gospel simply rode on the Roman effort for free! I remember thinking…”God you are really something!”
Then it dawned on me, “That’s what I am experiencing right now.” Then I thought, “Is there a way for the Gospel to travel in the 21st century much like it did in the 1st century?” The answer is…YES! Just like Rome established roads, a common language, and peace so that the Gospel traveled quickly and efficiently in the 1st century, the marketplace has accomplished the exact same thing in this new world of the 21st century. For example, just like the Roman roads, the 21st century business network of commerce allows for quick and efficient movement of any commodity. The network spans the entire globe. Just like Rome establish a common world wide language, most business transactions across the world take place in English or are easily translated into English. And finally, just like Rome demanded peace from all of its conquered citizens, business transactions occur successfully even in the most dangerous places on earth.
Here’s an example of what I mean. (I am making this up) Domino’s Pizza Gaza takes two phone in orders for lunch just minutes apart. The pizzas are cooked, boxed and handed to the driver for delivery. The driver makes his way down a street which matches the address on the delivery ticket. Bullets are flying from east to west and west to east. People are dying as a result. However, the Domino’s driver safely travels the street delivering pizzas to both sides. How? Its simple…both sides love pizza for lunch and will do everything in their power to not only receive the pizza ordered earlier, but make sure that the delivery guy will live to deliver pizza another day.
I know, that’s kind of a silly example, but you get my meaning. Let’s engage this powerful resource that already exists and is free to anyone who is part of the network to spread the Gospel.