We had chores growing up that required plenty of work outside. During our labors, that seemed it would take all day to get finished using our amateur skills, my dad always told us, “Don’t work harder, work smarter.” I appreciate his wisdom to this day. He made us think outside the obvious to come up with a much simpler way of doing things well and efficiently. James wrote, “…confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (5:16). The illustration is not to downplay the labor of Christianity, but maybe we can look at “smarter” ways to walk daily with Christ and bring others to him.
One fishing trip my dad took us on, before our teenage years, he let me use his rod and reel for a little while. His rod and reel was like another son to him. It was the smoothest reel to him even if it was the roughest someone else had ever handled. As I was casting, that rod flew out of my hand into the pond! I thought my dad was going to kill me. I sat in the truck as tears of shame rolled down my cheeks. A little while later, my dad’s line got hooked with one of my brother’s lines and they pulled up three fish…one on each of their hooks and the third on the hook I threw into the pond along with the reel! I am sure that is not what my dad had in mind when he said, “Don’t work harder, work smarter,” but one rod was thrown in and three fish came out.
So how can we “work smarter” in Christianity? James went on to write, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (5:19-20). We can stop a lot of sinning if we can bring the lost sheep home to God. We can bring even more people to Christ if we stack the work force. Just imagine if every Christian led one person to Christ, and each of those new converts brought one person to Christ and so on and so forth. Think of the implications of bringing just one person to Christ. In so doing, you may have helped in leading hundreds to Christ through that one. That is how you can work smarter. That is how you can catch more than one.