It may seem an odd thing to remember but I perfectly recall when Cool Ranch Doritos were first introduced. I was in college and for several weeks before they hit store shelves, Frito-Lay flooded the airwaves with commercials and promotions in an attempt to whip the public into a literal “feeding frenzy”.
I remember it well because the day that the chips hit campus my roommate came stomping into our apartment with a look of sheer disgust on his face. “It could only happen to me,” he said. “What’s that?” I asked, hoping he wasn’t about to begin another rant about his Econ prof. “Well, when I walked by the break room in the student union on the way up to my office [he volunteered for a student organization], I noticed the snack machine had been stocked with those new Cool Ranch Doritos so I decided I’d go back down and buy some at lunch time.” “Let me guess,” I said, “they were all gone when you went back.” He shook his head, “Oh no, it’s worse than that. I made the long trek down the back stairwell to the break room, bought the chips and as I was heading back – this time intending to use the elevator in the lobby – I rounded the corner into the lobby and saw two giant boxes filled with packages of Cool Ranch Doritos and a sign that read ‘Free Samples: Courtesy of Frito-Lay’. I had walked twice the distance just for the privilege of paying for something that was free for the taking.”
I thought about that incident as I was studying the New Testament pattern of evangelism (the “Go” portion of Revolution’s mission which we discussed last Sunday evening). In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus told his disciples to evangelize first in Jerusalem (their present location), then to Judea (the region around Jerusalem), then to Samaria (the region outside Judea), and then to the ends of the earth. The principle seems to be: go first to those closest to you (good friends & family, perhaps), then to acquaintances or classmates, and finally to those outside your social, cultural or even geographic sphere.
In a manner of speaking, those closest to you are “sitting in the lobby free for the taking” when it comes to telling the good news about Jesus. You don’t have to travel long distances, spend lots of money and work to establish relationships with them. Witnessing to them is a good place to start (and get practice) while moving ahead with plans to devote your time, energy and resources to the more difficult task of reaching those outside your social group or geographic location. So, yes, by all means, take the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth, but just don’t overlook the friends, family & classmates “sitting in the lobby free for the taking” as you’re on your way.
Revolution Leadership Team
Worship – Grow – Serve