There was this story from a sport called baseball of a team leader who was considered “a central figure” of his team for his many talents and his “leadership”. In a game, this man of “integrity” has faked getting injured in an attempt to help his team win. None of this would be all too terrible, if it weren’t for two things:
Number one: He confessed that he faked it and didn’t even feel any remorse. Instead, he reasoned that he was told to do something to score and so he did. As simple as that.
Number two: Nobody made a big deal about it. Even their opponents that night admired what he did.
He got the point and the job done. That’s that. Who cares, if he did something foul or even unethical (if you can call cheating unethical at all these days).
These days, when we look at the church, we see many leaders aspiring great things for their organization; after all a great number of churches are being run like corporations with their eyes fixed on the results (whatever kind of numbers they may be) rather than the conditions of their souls.
That’s when telling people to do “whatever it takes” becomes dangerous, because how many leaders are willing to sell their souls (and those they are leading) to get the job/ministry done?
It’s not important anymore how we get things done, but that it is done as soon and as efficient as possible. That may be fitting to a mafia movie or even a firm’s strategy, but with God the way was always the goal. There is a certain way God wants us to disciple people, a certain way He wants us to worship and even a certain way He wants us to build and run His church.
God’s ways however were never of our interest really… Teachers give students the answers to an exam instead of teaching them, pastors tell future ministers that it’s OK to lie instead of telling them to have faith and persevere, leaders tell their group that breaking the law isn’t bad unless you’re caught and the list goes on and on, because after all, what matters to them is that we have a pin on every country on the map, thousands of likes on their social media sites with people testifying how good their church is (compared to others) and more leaders carrying a title of a leadership position they never really earned in the first place.
It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine,
or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.
(Romans 14:21 NASB)
Like the baseball story above, none of that would be that terrible up until these leaders tell their people and show them by their actions that it is OK to lie, steal and cheat your way through church and by that show no remorse and offer no repentance whatsoever.
They make it seem that these small issues are harmless, but actually, it is most devastating in the long run. These kind of small things, which we just shrug off and laugh about are tiny little breaches in an otherwise well-founded structure called integrity.
The scary thing about integrity is, it just takes a tiny little crack left unattended within that otherwise solid structure to make it all fall apart. This wall of integrity holds back all sorts of evil and wickedness from flooding our life. If we don’t fix it and get right with God, there’s no telling how far we will fall. Most of the time, we won’t even notice it until it’s too late.
As hard as it is to believe, everything is held together by even the tiniest of Biblical principles. Principles like not cheating, not lying, not even hiding the truth from someone – principles that prevent us from doing things we know (as Christians) is terribly wrong. To act against these convictions is to sign your own death sentence.
But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions.
If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.
(Romans 14:23 NLT)
Sounds too extreme? Well, listen to this:
There was this king in the Old Testament who thought it was more important to get the things done for his people than to do it God’s way. Unless you take a closer look, he actually did a “good” job… He won a war or two for his people and initiated his own worship service. That’s basically what he did. Yet, in his apparent success, he failed miserably.
Where did he fail?
His focus was on doing what had to be done rather than how God wants things done. He may have won the battles and the people’s approval, but he lost God in the process, together with his sanity and ultimately even his position as king.
This motto churches have borrowed from cheap Wall Street and gangster movies isn’t what we need to get things going. If we (the church) can only stop applying ideas and smart sounding quotes from the world to the church… Everything we need is already in the Bible. The power to get it done will come from the Father like everything else that is good and perfect. And so, our only focus should be to please God in the process (not with the results).
And maybe, that’s ultimately what God meant, when He said, that He prefers obedience over sacrifice (even if it takes a tad bit longer).
May God bless your heart.