Monday, November 14, 2011

Am I being too careful?

I had a thought yesterday that I'm still trying to wrap my mind around.  It's this.

"Am I being too careful?"

Maybe you're thinking what is he talking about?  I'm thinking in terms of reaching this land.  I'm thinking of the communities of which we're a part.  I'm thinking of the strategy I'm asking God to give us.

I'm wondering, am I being too careful.  Don't get me wrong.  Any individual deserves our best.  God's call to reach this land is not something that should be dealt with flippantly, or with a lack of care, but I wonder....

I was thinking about the parables of Jesus, specifically the parable of the sower.  I remember one of my professors, Dr. Morris Weigelt reminding us that it's the parable to end despair.  I've been wondering if we might also think of it as the parable that calls to throw caution to the wind.

In the parable Jesus shares about a farmer who goes out to sow the seed.  Some seed falls on the path, some seed falls on the rocky ground, some falls among the thorns and some falls on the good soil.  If you think about it this farmer was a terrible sower.  Only one out of every four seeds fell in a place where it could grow and produce a crop.  Three out of four failed.  Some might suggest he had a success rate of only 25%, but we know from the story that the harvest of this farmer was great, incredible, unfathomable.  We read a harvest of 30, 60 and even a hundred fold.  How could that be?  I think it had to do with this individuals reckless technique of sowing.  He threw caution to the wind.  He sowed seed EVERYWHERE.  Should we not do the same? 

As we have come to Ireland we've been very conscious of the investment the church, YOU, have made in this ministry.  Failure is not an option...  My thoughts over these last few days have been... why not?  I mean if we're not willing to risk everything and fail how can we expect a great harvest.  Farmers plant their seed with no guarantee.   It's risky.  They could lose everything, and many have!  When we lived in Colorado we knew Potato farmers who would take premium potatoes, potatoes they could sell for good money and they'd place them in the ground to rot.  How crazy is that?  They were taking a risk, and there were years when they lost everything, but there were other years where the harvest was incredible.  If they'd wanted to be careful, they could have kept those potatoes in the barn, they could have sold them, but instead they risk everything in hopes of a greater return.  Should we not do the same?

Are we missing it in the church?  We do the safe thing, because we fear failure.  Instead of starting a new service or a new church we do the safe thing.  Instead of crossing the street and entering the life of another, we do the safe thing.  I'm not sure that's what God has in mind.  I think he longs to bless, but we've got to be willing to do whatever it takes.... I mean God did!  He sent his son to die for YOUR sin and MY sin and the reality is we all have the option of rejecting his offer.  Talk about risk!

In the next few weeks we'll be sharing with you what I believe God is calling us to do here in Ireland. I'm still working up the courage! I guess I'm warning you... it will be risky.  It will cost.  It will require sacrifice... and the reality is, it might NOT work... but doing nothing is NOT an option.  Doing something insignificant is NOT an option.  The call to make Christ-like Disciples in the nations is not for the weak of heart.  It's not for those who are looking for an easy assignment, it requires a recklessness that risks everything.

I'm tired of being careful and just limping along.  I believe God is calling his church to rise up.  As William P. Merrill suggests.

Rise up! O Church of God
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
to serve the king of Kings!

Are you willing?