Risk: Trading the University for a Hospital
As a teacher, I show up to my classroom each day with a plan for the entire time I have students. In that time I have an objective to meet. I have an agenda. I don’t have time budged in for us to get distracted or off target. So, I guard that instructional time intentionally.
Do we do that in the church?
Last week I shared an old post with the Christian Bloggers Community for #Wednesdayrewind on the Preaching Church vs. the Protecting Church. I believe this question goes hand in hand with the concept behind those two types of churches.
A Protecting Church is going to attempt to guard their Bible teaching and preaching time like I do the instructional time in my classroom. There will be order, routine, and tradition to their programs, services, and ceremonies. Interruptions, questions, and things generally outside of the norm will be considered attacks on their beliefs…will be considered persecution.
In a Protecting Church, we would definitely keep Jesus safe. We would make sure there wouldn’t be any interruptions while He addressed the crowd. He would preach or teach in peace while a packed house soaked up His wisdom.
The teacher in me loves this scenario. Wow. Valuing the educator enough to keep the crowd quiet, focused, and moving toward the main goal.
But wait. What is the main goal?
Three sets of scripture.
The first, Matthew 19:13-15, shows children being brought to Jesus for Him to put His hands on them and pray for them. Can you imagine having Jesus in the flesh to lay hands on your child?
The disciples attempted to send them away. They rebuked them for coming. The disciples refused to let the children near Jesus. Jesus, however, wasn’t ok with that. He corrected the disciples, and invited the little children to come to Him.
We don’t need to protect Jesus from people we think are inconvenient. He loves them just as much as He loves us.
The second set of verses depicts a Savior and His disciples exhausted from ministry. Yet Jesus sees the multitude and has compassion. He stops to teach them instead of going on to rest like He had planned.
The disciples are irritated. “Send all these people home. We’re in the middle of no where and no one has any food. There isn’t even any where to get any food.”
We may get tired, but Jesus is the Son of God. His love and mercy is never ending. We don’t need to protect Him from exhaustion. We also don’t need to protect Him from potential failure. Lack of food on the premises is not a problem for the Savior.
The third set of verses shows us a full-house. The church was filled to overflowing. So full even the doorway was jammed. A man shows up needing healing. His friends couldn’t get him through the crowd to the Healer.
Now, I don’t know about you, but this story bothers me. We always talk about the friends, about the miracle, about tearing off the roof to get to Jesus.
But what about the Christian people who blocked the path?
They really didn’t see the men carrying their friend on a stretcher? Not one of them thought to step out of the way, clear a path, and let the men through to the One who had the power to heal?
Church the main goal is to get people to Jesus!
Jesus is the Healer. Read Mark 5 for starters.
Was there a risk for the adults who took their children to be prayed over by Jesus? I believe there was, and Jesus’ followers almost made that risk a reality.
Was there a risk when the multitude met Jesus in that deserted place and didn’t bring any food? Absolutely. Except for they met Jesus, and the risk turned into reward.
Was there a risk when some friends picked up their crippled friend and packed him to the place where Jesus preached? Faith and follow through led their risk to the Revealer.
As we head into the Easter season I’m asking myself what am I willing to risk for Jesus?
Am I willing to risk moving out the role of protector so that others can get close enough to touch Him and be healed?
Am I willing to risk interruptions for learning opportunities?
Am I willing to risk being asked questions that I might not know the answer to in order for someone else to grow?
Am I willing to give up my order, routine, and tradition in order to meet people where they are?
Jesus wasn’t a rule follower, per se. It’s why so many “religious” people of His time struggled to accept Him as the promised Redeemer. He didn’t fit the mold. He didn’t follow the law.
Jesus healed people where they were as He went. Jesus was a Preaching Church.
Am I willing to risk my perceived feeling of safety for the reality of His Saving Grace?