Sunday, September 7, 2014

Going Far

Contrary to what you might expect, my most-listened-to radio station is not a contemporary Christian music station.  When I get in my car, the radio is set to play classical music, courtesy of a local station.  You will undoubtedly be relieved to learn that my intention here is not to defend my taste in music or to persuade you to join me.  Rather, I would like to share with you something I heard on this publically-funded station.  During one of the inevitable fund-raising events, the speaker had this to say:

                        “If you want to go fast, go alone;
                        If you want to go far, go with others.”

This observation stopped me in my thought-tracks, and I am grateful that I had not yet clicked the program off.  This insightful yet uncomfortable truth is extremely relevant to the Christian life.  Our God is a God of relationship, a three-in-one Triune God, and we are created in His image, for relationship with Him and His creation.  When Jesus became man and dwelt among us, He chose twelve men to accompany Him, and He sent them out in pairs to minister.

It takes only a quick survey of the Gospels to conclude that Jesus could have gone a lot faster without His disciples.  But Jesus came with a long-term goal: to establish His church on earth, and to reach that goal, He needed to go with the disciples (or, rather, He needed the disciples to go with Him).  After His death, resurrection, and ascension, it was those same disciples who, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, established the Church. Subsequent generations of disciples have followed suit, bringing us to today. 

We live in a very fast-paced world.  We are individualistic by culture—“If you want something done right, do it yourself”—and by sin nature—like Eve, we prefer to “do it ourselves,” to make choices that promote pride and independence rather than humility and relationship.   If the truth be known, I find this appealing.  I like to go fast, and as an introvert, I do not mind going alone.

But God wants more for us.  His desire is for relationship with us and relationship among us.  He is more interested in us going far—all the way to Heaven!—rather than fast—it is not that kind of race.  In order to continue the work began by Jesus and His disciples, we need to follow the model set by them.  It is essential that we abide in Christ, the Vine, and work together to prosper His kingdom.

We are now entering the Fall season, a busy back-to-school, vacation’s over time.  As God’s family, as members of His body, we often focus on Fall ministry plans and programs.   In the rush of a new season, it is easy to want to go fast.  This would be a good time to remember that it is more important to go far.  Together!