Acts 9:27,28,31 – But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in fear of the Lord. (NIV)
While preparing a Sunday School lesson recently, I came across an analogy that has stuck in my mind, and I share it, hoping that perhaps it will stick in the minds of others as well.
Our lesson centred around the conversion experience of Saul (Paul). The theme of the lesson was one of acceptance of new Christians into the fellowship of believers. One section in the Sunday School quarterly was entitled "Assimilation of New Christians". Immediately upon reading this, the analogy came to mind. If you are a Star Trek fan, or a casual viewer like myself, then you will be familiar with what follows.
In Star Trek there is a race of beings known as the "Borg". This race of part-human, part-machine beings has one goal and purpose for its existence. This goal, known as their "Prime Directive", is to seek out all other living creatures and make them part of the Borg race. This is what they call assimilation. The Borg feel that they are a superior race and that all others should desire to be like them, and thus they seek to make all others like themselves. Once they encounter a possible convert, they do everything they can to immediately make them one of the "family". While their methods are crude and offensive, we can learn a lot from them.
As Christians, we too have a "Prime Directive" — known as the Great Commission. We too are commanded to go out and seek others whom we are to call to become part of our family. While we do not consider ourselves superior to others, we do consider what we have (Christ) to be something that all others should have. As such, we should be just like the Borg in our persistence and insistence on seeking out non-Christians to bring into the fellowship. But as is shown in the story of Saul's conversion, our responsibility does not end when the conversion occurs. Again, like the Borg, we must seek to make these new Christians more like what Christ has made us to be. In order to do this we have to get involved in their lives; we have to assimilate them into their new family.
After Barnabas took Saul in, we see that Saul felt free to move about, and continued to speak in the name of the Lord. As a result of Saul's assimilation into this early fellowship, the church came to enjoy a time of peace and was strengthened.
Assimilation of new Christians has its reward both for the new Christian and for ourselves.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for making us part of your family. We ask that You give us the strength, faith, and desire to seek out others to bring in to this wonderful fellowship. Help us to follow the prime directive of the Christian faith and assimilate others. Amen.