It is time to get personal.
Lane is typically the writer, but every now and then The Lord takes hold of TJ’s heart and lays a message on it that other people need to hear.
In this several-part series, we will see just that — what The Lord laid on TJ’s heart.
When we go to the car dealership to pick out a new car, we look at big SUVs and small sedans. Right in the sticker, more prominent than anything else, is the car’s “fuel efficiency.” It may be a very fuel efficient vehicle or a gas guzzler.
At work, we use certain programs to help us throughout the day. An accountant will now use QuickBooks instead of looking at a paper ledger. A merchant mariner may use an electronic chart instead of a paper chart.
Most people now will send a text message to someone as opposed to making a phone call. Why? The phone call will take more time.
When booking a vacation we use the internet to arrange flights and hotels instead of making a phone call, which will take more time to complete.
We do all these things because time is precious. It is a commodity that can never be bought back. We want to make the most use of this commodity. We want to be efficient. Efficiency is in just about everything we do. It’s so important and wrapped up in everything we do.
So what is efficiency?
Efficiency is completing a task in the most optimal way. This sounds like a good thing, and it very often can be. Our bosses sure do like when we are efficient, as it saves them money. So if efficiency is good for work, is it good for the Church? Is it good for your daily walk with Christ?
The problem with efficiency is that it can be misguided. I can complete a task efficiently, but if it’s the wrong task or doesn’t get me closer to the goal, was it really worth doing? Was it effective? It’s time that churches started being inefficient and Christians become effective.
Yes, it is efficient to send a quick text versus calling someone. However, it’s not effective. What if that person you texted was lonely or had something on their mind? When you text, you get little interaction. When you call, you connect. You show love. You are being effective. This love effectiveness is disappearing from our churches and it’s time to bring it back.
Think about Jesus. We often say we should imitate Christ. When he went around preaching the gospel and showing love, did he do what was efficient or what was effective?
When Jesus fed the five thousand, did he choose the most efficient or most effective way?
“Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!””
John 6:5-14 ESV
Jesus has just been performing all kinds of miracles. He could have just as easily had manna fall from the sky. This would have been nothing for him. He is God and can do anything. Instead, he chose to be involved and get the disciples and crowd involved. Think about how that little boy’s life was changed because of his involvement rather than having manna dropped into his lap.
Jesus made the miracle of feeding five thousand people personal to each person there.
FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE JUST GOT PERSONAL WITH JESUS!
When the Israelites were wandering through the desert, God made it easy for them. He sent manna from heaven they could pick up every morning. It was so easy to get food, yet they still complained. It wasn’t personal to them. It just happened.
To these five thousand people, this miracle was personal to them. They watched the disciples find the boy that came with five loaves and two fish. The boy willingly gave it up. They watched Jesus take it, bless it and break the bread. This is what made it so amazing that day. It was something actually worth writing home about. All four of the gospels included it. This is effective.
This is what we need to get back to as a church. Effective and personal relationships will change the world, not efficient ones. It may not be feeding five thousand people from a few loaves and fish, but we can make our interactions and services more personal.
We, as a church, can become more personal with others to become effective Christians rather than an efficient church.