Around 6 years ago, I finally dragged myself into my optometrist's office because I knew I needed glasses. My friends knew I needed glasses because of how often they would catch me squinting to read the score at the bottom of the television screen during a game, or to identify a person sitting across the room. I knew it when I started being nervous about driving my kids around after dark because I knew I couldn’t read street signs. I still remember the drive home with my new pair of glasses and tearing up because I could see individual tree leaves as well as the texture of the tree bark! Who knew how beautiful these details and nuances of creation could be to one who had lived with blurred sight!
Recently I have transitioned into primarily wearing contact lenses instead of glasses. This is mostly because snuggling with my kids often meant smudges to my vision and active play that bumped my glasses into the bridge of my nose pressed me into anger territory. The challenge to contacts has been the cost. To save money on my disposable lenses, I purchased them in bulk. My new problem is, sitting here on my couch right now, I can no longer read the blue digital time on my oven clock. This is usually the first sign of needing an upgraded prescription. I know, because I don’t want to “waste money” I will most likely use the rest of my current batch of contacts before returning to my doctor for an updated batch. It’s not so bad that I’m unsafe or can’t enjoy life.
The goal is still the same: to clearly and effortlessly see the world around me. The method and prescription required to do that, is changing before my eyes. I am getting this same sense about the church and how we achieve our goals.
First off, what is the goal? We all have mini goals and gifts as church families. Some churches are talented at advocacy for social justice issues, while others are great at feeding the hungry. Some still are excellent at resourcing and training other churches and others are known to be creative arts specialists. These are specific goals, and I am glad for the freedom to be a different part of the Body of Christ. However, I believe the main goal is simple: to worship God and reach those who don’t serve Him yet. I also believe the way we go about doing this is shifting. Some individuals and some groups will not adjust and maybe losing clarity of vision. I have been and continue to find myself being one such individual.
Here’s an example. Recently I heard my tone (have you ever had that moment of perfect echo, hearing yourself potentially through the ears of the Holy Spirit?) turn negative towards primarily choosing to participate in church services online. It was just a passing comment, but it set up one behavior as less than another. I have loads of reasons why. And that load of reasons has kept me from encouraging people who may refuse to step foot in a Christian auditorium or sanctuary to tune in from their couch. This has kept me from potentially encouraging someone who doesn’t love Jesus, to hear His message of redemption and love through a device they are using already. All of a sudden, I realized, that my reasons for refusing to update my list of approved methods were limiting my ability to be used to build God’s Kingdom.
This is a tiny thing, but I believe we make choices and judgments about the methods of spreading God’s love without actually asking why. I don’t want to update my contact prescription because I don’t want to waste what I currently own. This means I live a blurry life. When we refuse to adjust, we compromise clarity for the goal Christ has set before us: to make disciples. What are the things you may need to be adjusting today? The message is the same. The prescription for getting there will continue to need adjustments. Let us be humble, flexible, and good stewards of the call.