Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. (Mark 1:16–20 ESV)
It is interesting to note that in calling His disciples, Jesus actually went out to where they were, sought them out, spoke to them in a way they could understand, and invited them to go with Him. This is a great example of how we can witness and make disciples for Jesus.
Too often we expect unbelievers to make all the adjustments – in the way they dress, initiation into our ways of worship, language and thought form. Only after they leap these hurdles do we begin proper conversation. We build up our strength where we are, and invite outsiders into our setting, one by one, so that they are at their weakest and least comfortable.
We have much to learn about starting where people are. It is we who should go out to them, speak in their vernacular, adjust our styles of dress and worship, make ourselves weak and vulnerable so that in our weakness, God’s beauty shines through.
As Paul said in 1 Cor. 9, we must become weak to win the weak, we must become like those under the law to win those under the law, etc. Put in today’s perspective, if we want to reach our neighbors, we must become like our neighbors. What sets us apart as God’s people is not the way we dress or the style of music we listen to. It is not with outward adornment, but with the inward beauty of Christ, which shines through our actions and words in love.