Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Messy Stalls

Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest (Proverbs 14:4 NLT)

When it comes to owning oxen there are certain disadvantages. They eat a lot. They are expensive and time-consuming to keep. Plus, they make a very big mess in the crib. If a farmer does not own any oxen to plow the fields he will have a clean stable, but he won’t be able to make a living. On the other hand, even though they are messy, there is an advantage to owning oxen – they are essential tools for having an abundant harvest in the fall. In other worlds, their cost and inconvenience does not compare to their productivity.

This is a lesson in agriculture that also offers us certain principles of spiritual truth – i.e., don’t cut corners, do the hard work, and it will pay off in the end.

This principle has all sorts of applications. Just use your imagination.

Take church work and the Great Commission for instance. We are mandated by Jesus Christ Himself to “go fish for men and make disciples.” That’s messy, hard work. Sinners are messy. They have all sorts of issues and unresolved stuff going on in their lives. Nevertheless, that is the clarion call of the church. Unfortunately, the tendency of church leaders and church people is to cut corners, avoid unnecessary work, and keep the stable (church) clean. The end result is no harvest of souls. Such a church is barren!

  • Because of what is at stake, I think it is important for me to call our staff and ministry leaders to a higher standard of conduct and productivity. I think it is important that people work hard and be accountable

  • We can never allow ourselves to slip into a posture of mediocrity

  • Because of the kinds of people we reach, their kids may not act right all the time or know all the stories in the Bible. For that matter, the adults we are reaching may not know the main stories of the Bible. So we will not assume they do and will explain it to them in a way they can understand

  • We will not spend nickels-and-dimes on evangelism and discipleship because if we do we will only get nickels-and-dimes results. We want to see a bumper crop and harvest of souls

  • At the same time we will learn how to do more with less money. We are very frugal and wise at PCC – from top to bottom – and it is amazing what our ministry departments are able to accomplish on a shoestring budget

  • We may offend a few Christians - especially the self righteous kind. I’m okay with that. We are not deliberately trying to offend anyone, but neither will we shy away from the work God has called us to because we are afraid that we ‘might’ offend someone. When a church targets the sick, those who are healthy and self righteous will sometimes complain they are not getting enough attention.

  • We can’t lead a church or effectively conduct ministry via Facebook, twitter, blogging, or from behind our computer screens. We have to be in the field, plowing, planting, and dealing with oxen. Helping people requires that we have real conversations with people.

1 comment:

Ron said...

PS - Everybody wants to reach people until you reach people.