Sunday, June 2, 2013

the cause

    The book of Acts clearly shows that the early church thrived when the opposition was great, following 'the Way' was not popular and the world, as a whole, was generally without a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Hmm.. sounds like another period of time I know about, yet the early church thrived!  She thrived because the leaders worked together for a clear cause.  Those leaders may or may not have been willing to die for one another, but all were willing to die for the cause.... and many did.
   The church then was, and the church today should be, committed to the cause first and each other second.  The cause.  Does every member of the church know what that cause is?  Does every member who knows what the cause is, pursuing after it as though the God of the universe commanded that they pursue that cause over any other?
   Great churches, and the teams leading them, are always clear about the cause.  Job descriptions, rules, office hours, dress codes, etc. don't have to even be in place if the cause is at the center of every member of the team.  Each member will do all that needs to be done because they are all committed to the cause.  Some find comfort in the structures while others are more comfortable with the lack of rules.  Regardless of the environment of the leadership team and the church polity, nothing will work if everyone is not committed to getting the job done:  Pursuing the cause!  Having a position, being in charge, doing only what's assigned, spending lots of time on administrative details or even doing many good things, these things will not guarantee a pursuit of the cause.
    The cause of my church/team is "building bridges of love to connect people with Jesus Christ and each other" (2 Corinthians 5:11ff).  This mission statement and the commitment of the leaders to this cause should be the single thing that keeps us together and on track.  Caring about each other and the needs around us, is important, but the cause should come first.  In fact, without the cause being the reason for whatever we do, Jesus tells us that it will not matter. Jesus calls those who do good things, even when done in His name....,  without knowing and pursuing the cause as our purpose, he calls them "evildoers" (Matthew 7:22).
    Matthew 22:36-39 says, "...Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "   The rest of the cause is stated clearly in Matthew 28:19-20, "... Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you."  This is the cause, everything else is secondary.  If you know the cause as truth, then inspiration, motivation, human resources,etc, will be of little relevance. Genuine belief, by faith, in this cause will, without reluctantly, propel each individual on the team and in the church towards fulfilling the cause in their life, in their church and in the world around them.  Pursue the Cause!

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