Intriguing Thoughts From My Recent Time With God…
1. Jesus didn’t seem to systematically draw gridlines/utilize strategies around Judea, Samaria, and Galilee to physically heal, spiritually transform, and verbally teach as many people as possible during His three year public earthly ministry. He didn’t even utilize the best technology available to Him—i.e. He usually walked while traveling instead of using donkeys/camels/horses. And even when He did use a boat, it was usually to get away from the following crowds, not to travel greater distances in a shorter time in order to reach more of them.
2. I’m not implying that we shouldn’t draw gridlines/utilize strategies and technology to reach as many people with the Gospel as possible; I’m just throwing it out there that Christ didn’t seem to do that/employ those methods that many evangelical/”forward-thinking” local churches do today.
3. Instead, He personally chose twelve unlikely/unqualified men to follow Him and then He poured into them over the next three years, living, eating, sleeping, and traveling with them as He led them with His words and His actions and prepared them for the work of “going, telling, making, baptizing, and teaching.”
4. Thus, in view of Jesus’ discipleship mission/goal of preparing the Twelve to be sent out in order that eventually the entire world would hear the Gospel and be given the opportunity to surrender their lives to Jesus, is it possible that Jesus valued relationships over results, that He saw transformed people as a better strategy for the spread of the Gospel than theoretical principles? Jesus could have laid down/demonstrated a practical model for reaching the entire geographical area of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee in three years. He could have shown us how to practically share the Good News and engage in Good Works over that area in a three year span so that every single human heard the Good News. But He didn’t do that.
5. Is it possible that Jesus chose #3 & #4 above instead of #1 because He knew that while #1 would seem to be the better short-term way to maximize results, #3 & #4 were in fact the better long-term strategy?
6. I bring this up because, as I was at home yesterday caring for my sick family (flu) instead of normally being at work, I was frustrated because I deeply desired to be “producing results” for God (e.g. devising strategies, attending meetings, collaborating with other pastors, writing messages/articles on Christian living, implementing best-practices, rolling out programs, planning retreats, etc.). Instead, I was chafing at “merely” being home with my children. Why this discontent in me? Why do I sometimes feel like I can’t WAIT to get back to church/work at the end of the weekend? It’s because I view the work that I do at my computer/in a boardroom as being more effective for the spread of the Gospel than playing baseball/reading books/preparing lunches for my kids and making hot tea for my sick wife. Based on reflecting on Jesus’ earthly life/ministry, it seems I have it backwards. Perhaps the times when I am MOST EFFECTIVELY spreading the Gospel long-term is the weekend when I am at home pouring into my wife and children, and perhaps the times when I am most “spinning my wheels” (e.g. moving the odometer but not really going anywhere) is the time when I am working at church.
Is this perhaps partly why the Western Church seems to be so powerless lately, seems to be lacking the EXPLOSIVENESS and REPUTATION WITH OUTSIDERS of the Acts 2 Church?
Just some thoughts, ya’ll…
Let’s pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us through all this…I am personally terrified of pouring out the water of my life for God and realizing, when I stand before Him, that my water landed mostly on the concrete instead of the soil.