By: Kevin Becht

The phrase “gentle tugs” is a reference to picking fruit. It is how one really knows if fruit is ripe and ready to be picked. In the context of 3Story it refers to the questions, observations, and reflections that we use to help people decide if they are ready to say yes to following Jesus. I’ll never forget the first time I intentionally applied the teaching of “gentle tugs” in my own life. It was actually a time when I was picking fruit. My kids and I discovered wild raspberries growing at the edge of the woods behind our house. I told them to only take the berries that came off in their hand after a gentle tug. Those will forever be the absolute best tasting black raspberries I will ever eat. There is something about experiencing the principles we teach first hand that is priceless. Gentle tugs really work, but too often we can ruin God’s timing by tugging too soon, taking too long, tugging too much, or not toughing it out in our 3Story relationships.


Tugging Too Soon. If it looks at all ripe, pick it. That seemed to be the philosophy of my grandfather when I was growing up when he would take me “berry pickin’.” The fruit wasn’t ready and the berries were often sour. Too often we force students into a relationship with Jesus before they are ready and the result is they grow to be sour towards that very relationship.


Taking Too Long to Tug. When our raspberries start to come in, they come fast. If I give a gentle tug one day, chances are the next day they are ready. But if I am not there that day, it might be too late. Birds may come in and eat most of the berries or the berries may start to be enjoyed by bugs. The berries also start to dry out very quickly in the sun. In order to be there when the fruit is ripe, I have to, well, be there. When we know the heart of a student is growing more ripe by the day, we must stay present and involved in her life, giving gentle tugs, while we wait and pray for the Holy Spirit to draw her into a relationship with Jesus.


Too Much Tugging. "Fruit constantly inspected bruises, blights" (pg. 60, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, Mark Buchanan). I had never considered this before in the realm of Gentle Tugs until I read that statement a couple of weeks ago. It is convicting to know that my tugging could do more harm than good in the life of a student with whom I have been sharing God’s Story. Students are already bruised and broken. We must pray that our efforts are bringing healing to their bruised and broken hearts.


Toughing It Out. We had to fight off thorns and poison ivy to get to the best berries that day. It took some work and it took some risk. So it is with the principle of “gentle tugs” in 3Story appointments.  We must remember that we are fighting a battle for the souls of the kids in our ministry. There will be attacks from the enemy that will discourage us and try to keep us away from a kid ready to make the most important decision of his life. We can never give up!

Since that first year of picking raspberries, I have learned what ripe fruit looks like, as well as feels like. After picking enough berries, it has become part of who I am. When we have been giving 3Story Gentle Tugs long enough, the Holy Spirit will guide and direct us to know when to tug. After all, it is He who provides the harvest anyway. As the end of the school year grows closer we need to be giving some “gentle tugs” on the hearts of students with whom we have been sharing God’s Story with this year, and that is best done in the context of an appointment. Who do you need to meet with in the coming weeks? Let’s get out there and give some gentle tugs.

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