ReVision

Dilbert's Advice for Christians

Can Christians learn anything from non-Christians?

Obviously, yes, they can. Just as Moses was enlightened by his pagan father-in-law (Ex. 18), so Christians should pay attention to any advice that can help us fulfill our calling to make all the nations disciples.

I have in mind specifically Mr. Scott Adams, the cartoonist who brings us Dilbert and all his colleagues. Writing in the April 9, 2011, edition of The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Adams recommends that students in college spend less time on art, literature, math, and science and more time learning to be entrepreneurs.

He relates his own experience in college as a backdrop for presenting seven benefits to be gained by learning to take an entrepreneurial approach to life. It strikes me that his advice, while not intended for Christians, can be helpful to believers in moving us to a more consistent witness for Christ.

Mr. Adams suggests, first of all, that entrepreneurs are able to combine skills - not necessarily great skills, but several - toward achieving a single task. What if we could learn to pray more effectively about our witness for Christ, to show interest in others and become patient listeners, and begin to master the art of launching conversations? Would that skill set, faithfully developed, help us to be more consistent in our witness?

Second, Dilbert's creator urges us to "fail forward." We need to be willing to fail in our efforts to reach out to others with the Gospel, but we should always be trying to learn something as we do, so that we don't fail as much the next time around.

Then, find the action: Go to where people are - like Paul in Athens, cruising the marketplace and philosophical schools. Where are we likely to encounter lost people? At bookstores? In coffeeshops? Across the hall from us at work? Across the street? Don't wait for the "action" to come to you! Go for it!

Fourth, Mr. Adams suggests that entrepreneurs "attract luck." That is, the more we endeavor in our project, the more frequently we try to talk with others about the Lord, the more likely we're going to be to find success. "Luck finds the doers."

Fifth, conquer fear. Fear of man is perhaps the main reason why so few Christians share their faith with anyone. We can overcome fear through prayer and by charging into our fears, whenever they arise. Afraid to talk with that neighbor about the Lord? Walk across the street and open your mouth. The Spirit of God will meet you.

Sixth, Mr. Adams recommends that entrepreneurs should write simply. We might say, for our purposes, "talk simply." Share your testimony and a word of the Gospel without theological jargon or fumbling and stumbling around. If you need to practice these things in order to simplify and clarify your presentation, then by all means, do.

Finally, learn persuasion. Persuasion suggests dialog, conversation, give-and-take, and extended opportunities for getting to know others and continuing conversations previously begun.

Would you describe your approach to bearing witness for Christ as "entrepreneurial"? Would your witness be more consistent and effective if you were? Scott Adams was not writing with Christians and our witness in mind, but it's not hard to see that there are some pearls of general revelation in his words.

The only question that remains is whether we will take them to heart and put them to use.

Additional related texts: Exodus 18.13-27; 2 Chronicles 2.1-16; Acts 17.27-31

A conversation starter: "I'm interested in what motivates people: Tell me - what drives you to get up each day and carry on your life?"

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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