You’ve heard it: “If I could buy you for what you’re worth, then sell you for what you think you’re worth . . .”
Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:9, “I am the least… I am not worthy…” It does NOT mean you’re worthless in the eyes of others, but being honest in seeing yourself through God’s eyes. It’s knowing that who, what, and how He’s building you up to be now in your journey is because of His grace, not your popularity or talent. It’s not about you at all. It’s all about God working His grace through you.
Yesterday in class, we discussed the fallacy of an “US vs. THOSE PEOPLE” mentality, even while claiming we’re representing Jesus to our world. You know. Always sitting with the same ones. Always picking from the same insular group for just about anything. After all, unless Jack’s in that class, or seated at that table, or a member of that group, it has no merit. See, Jack’s popular and fun. Jack is in EVERYTHING. I mean, thanks for the offer, but if you ain’t got JACK . . .
With respect, we’re not here to learn about and worship Jack. According to Paul, Jack’s true value is only in how he uses his gifts and personality – and character – to point other men to Jesus.
We all do it, if we’re not careful.
“I do not!” Hey. Social media tell the story. What else is everyone supposed to think when they keep seeing the exact same faces proudly displayed at any social gathering you host? And haven’t you occasionally looked at a Facebook picture and thought, “Sure wish they’d invite me sometime.”?
And what if they did? Would you then become a cliquey snob, secretly gloating over all the little people not allowed to know the clubhouse secret code?
It’s not about you at all. It’s all about God working His grace through you.
It’s natural to have some friends closer than others, some with whom we always have the most fun.
But if that’s the sum of your social interaction–hanging with the same people, only doing things with the same select group–according to Jesus’s examples, you’ve not yet begun to represent Him in His world. Calling that ‘evangelism’ and ‘discipleship’ is kidding yourself. And it’s shortchanging those you could be impacting by your witness.
Ever heard somebody say in shock, “Why, I had no idea __________ was so much fun!” or “Wow, I didn’t know they were that good.” What chance did you give them? Most people do not wade into the middle of things, demanding to be included.
One in four personalities is always up for a good party. The other three either have no time for foolish goofing off by people who don’t have time for them; are more bothered by the cost of the party than that they weren’t invited; or are talented and would love to be included once in awhile, but aren’t the kind to push themselves into a setting where they’re not wanted.
It hurts to be routinely excluded unless nobody else is around willing to step up. Good, qualified, able people have quietly left churches because, “We couldn’t get in. Everyone had their clique, their family gatherings. They come in talking and laughing with the same people, they leave the same way. It’s like we were somehow lower on the register or something. Nobody’d let us in, and we got tired of feeling like second- or third-tier Christians.”
The Path of Least Discomfort is not an effective outreach program.
How many times should they keep trying before getting discouraged and quitting? More to the point, when that happens, how long does it take for the clique or family or social group to realize they’ve gone?
Either way, The Path of Least Discomfort is not an effective outreach program. It’s not enough to just not be conformed to the world. Sometimes it’s necessary to resist being conformed to The Church.
Paul goes on in 1 Cor. 15-16 to talk about Christ’s return. When He raptures His Church, it won’t be by parties, church organizations, family affiliation, social clubs or the most popular Sunday School classes.
We’ll each rise to meet Him because we’ve individually served Him in this life.
Or, as Paul puts it, “Be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (15:58).
Exactly. God sees results in a different way than we all do.
© D. Dean Boone, November 2017