Monday, February 19, 2007

Just 10 Steps

Over Christmas, while I was out in Colorado, I read the latest book by Bill Hybels, Just Walk Across the Room. It has been out for a while but I had been saving it specifically for this trip when I knew that I would have extra time to read it carefully and prayerfully. I love Bill Hybel’s books. All of them have greatly inspired me. I’m not sure that a man exists in the world today that has more of a passion for lost people and for the local church than he does. I find his passion contagious.

In the opening chapter of Just Walk Across the Room, we discover that the average person takes 10,000 steps each and every day from sunrise to sunset. I think I’ll take Bill’s word on this one as I have no desire to register each step I take in a given day to see how accurate of an estimate this really is. But if this is correct, than that would mean that we walk about 115,000 miles in the span on an average lifetime. That would allow us to walk around planet Earth not once, not twice, not even three times, but four times.

But in all these massive number of steps that we take in a lifetime, Hybels challenges us to consider that it is those few steps that we might take to walk across a simple room that could be the most meaningful, not just in our lifetime, but throughout all of eternity. Think about it. When you go anywhere that you are not by yourself, you will typically find yourself in what Hybels calls, your “circle of conversational comfort.” This is that small space that you share at any given event with the few others who are present that you know well and enjoy associating with. There is no personal risk involved when you are in this circle of comfort.

But the next time you are standing in this comfortable space, take time to look around and notice who might be in the same room or area that is standing or sitting all alone. What would keep you from leaving your circle of conversational comfort and walking across the room to where they are? It sounds so simple but in reality it is a difficult and often frightening idea. That is why Hybels calls the space outside of your circle of comfort, the “zone of the unknown.” In your circle of comfort you know that you are accepted. You know that you will enjoy the conversation and fellowship. But outside of this circle is nothing but the unknown. If you venture into this zone, you are at risk.

If only we would realize that personal evangelism can be as simple as a walk across the room. Hybels points out that if the average size room was 20 feet than all it would take to walk across it is just 10 steps. That is only 1/1,000 of your daily average. Our task of being a witness to those who are steamrolling ahead to an eternity apart from God begins when we leave our circle of conversational comfort and walk just 10 steps across the room into the zone of the unknown, put out our hand and simply say to someone we have never met, “Hi! My name’s Scott (you should use your name). What’s yours?” Hybels states that it is in the zone of the unknown where God does His best work. I think He is right. After all, it was Jesus who made the ultimate walk across a room when He left heaven and walked across the cosmos to enter our world to reach we who were sinners.

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