Earlier in the day I had listened as the bio of another speaker (a really good one too!) was carefully reviewed. . . all the great things he's done for God.
Call me cynical. . . but I just keep retreating, shrinking, pulling back internally from "great things" done for God. I was physically ill late last year upon visiting a new church and freshly remodeled portion of an evangelical school. . . clearly millions upon millions had been spent in both cases. A close friend recently recounted for me how "X" dollars would be spent by his church in a missions project of great efficiency and great effect. the kind of thing where if you spend these dollars a clear prediction of how many churches will be established can be certain.
This is exactly the kind of "winning" presentation that I am urged, pushed, influenced, and encouraged to use to portray our work at Sunshine. . . but I just don't buy it. Don't get me wrong, we are working on our marketing and I know its important. I just don't know if the "image" is true. At the very least its an incomplete picture and in that sense, its not true.
What kind of person or church always grows, always wins, always triumphs, always experiences efficiency and decorum, always impresses, always reflects strengths? No true church or person does. So if that's all that is presented. . . if that is what is put forward as "success". . . our honesty, and integrity, and understanding are in jeopardy.
Yet the true church perseveres through adversity, the true Christian loves without concern for accomplishment, fame, reciprocation or adulation. The true Christian fails, even in this unrequited love of neighbor.
I don't think God's work is efficient. I don't think it is predictable in a scientific, expedient, rational way. There are few Christian leaders I've known who lead out of weakness and suffering, and what Paul calls his resume of garbage.
How do we want to be introduced? Whose list of deeds do we want read aloud on our account?
How's this: imperfect dad, faulty husband, inefficient minister, lowly neighbor, slow learner, one growing only by God's grace, doing small things for a Great God. Hungry for another round of communion. . . one of sovereignly propped up faith.