Keep it Simple’ is a popular theme of 21st century life. Why? CBS-News reports the average big city dweller is bombarded by over five thousand advertisements daily. That’s a lot for the human brain to sort.
As an intentional Christian your aim is to get people to think. How can you get people to think deeply when there are so many distractions?
While living in the Middle East I learned with a friend a method of influence that is both simple and helps others to laser-in on what is important. I share it here for you to consider how you can adapt the method and make it work for you in helping others around you.
One day I was talking to a Muslim friend about the second coming of Jesus. He was interested and I wished he had a Bible — of course he didn’t. Truthfully the Bible is big — and frankly not all that simple. So later I simply photocopied a page from the Bible in his language, in this case Matthew 24, and then highlighted a few verses. The next time we were together I pulled out the photocopy and he was happy — because it was simple and easy to read. That photocopy of Jesus’ own words was also deeply important. He got to read the Bible and didn’t have any of the embarrassment or harassment of actually carrying a big Christian/Jewish book around. That’s the method: Simple photocopy the Word of God!
Photocopy a psalm of hope and give it away. Photocopy a page from Ephesians on grace and give it away. Photocopy a parable of Jesus and give it away. Photocopy a chapter on the crucifixion. Photocopy Isaiah 53 and talk about it. There is a lot of conviction power for the Holy Spirit to use in a very small foldable piece of paper.
My Christian co-worker photocopied the first page of Genesis. He liked to leave this on park benches and in public places. For most of the Muslim population living around him — this piece of paper was the very first time they had ever read these stunning words of earth’s origin in their entire life. The words were an introduction to a new worldview.
One day while talking with that friend about this very technique, a secular middle-eastern woman came and sat next to us. Busy with our conversation I had set the photocopied piece of paper which was the heart of our conversation, on the seat next to me. The woman wanting to make a place for herself to sit, picked up the piece of paper to move it — but then she began to look at it. It was Genesis 1 and 2. After reading for about five minutes, she was visibly stunned and interrupted our conversation. “This is amazing, what is this?!” she politely asked. We said, “It’s the first page of the Old Testament.” She said she had never read or touched a Bible before. Because it was just a photocopy — it wasn’t intimidating for her. She read it again then began a very interesting conversation filled with many questions.
In a world with so many well prepared glossy colorful advertisements there is something just plain innocent about a photocopy.
Jesus wrote in the sand to make an unforgettable point. Maybe in a world of relativistic grey a photocopy will help people see God’s thoughts in black and white. It is sincere, simple and important.