“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” -Jesus’ challenge to the church you lead
The Three Amigos has to be one of the greatest movies of all time. (Okay, so I’m no film critic!) I’ve shown so many “Amigos” clips to our church family that even those who never saw the movie actually have seen the movie. And if you share my passion for great cinema, you might remember that classic contract negotiation scene where the three silent screen stars (played by Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short) are trying to squeeze studio boss, Harry Flugleman, for a raise. Flugleman, lamenting the diminished returns of the previous “Amigos” movie, confidently concludes, “When you stray from the formula you pay the price.” I believe that one line pretty much explains the reason that most churches underachieve.
In Acts 15:19, James made a statement that was supposed to frame one of the strategic objectives of our mission- “We should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” Essentially, that’s a restatement of what Jesus said- “Don’t light a lamp and put it under a bowl” (Matthew 5:15); which then becomes the pre-statement (if that’s a word) of what Paul would later write to the Corinthians. “I fear, lest by any means…your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3) Strangely enough, they all agree with Harry Flugleman!
Jesus gave us a simple message and a simple strategy- communicate an offer of divine forgiveness through natural organic relationships.
· Nothing hidden.
· Nothing too difficult.
· Nothing complicated.
Unfortunately, maintaining that simple balance is an ongoing struggle because we so naturally gravitate toward complexity. Jesus calls for a couple of easy belt-high fastballs right over the middle of the plate- but we throw high and tight. Sometimes I wonder if we actually want to save the lost or just strike out the side?
If I’m missing something, please let me know.