At the beginning of a new year, many resolutions are made. If someone could find a way to fine or charge people for broken resolutions, they would quickly become very wealthy.
It turns out that, after all, we are creatures of habit and change is extraordinarily difficult for us. Habits become ruts, and ruts give us a path to walk on that we don’t have to think about. The only problem with this is that the ruts will only take us to where we have already been.
Ask any Israelite, as they were making one of their 40 laps through the wilderness. None of their familiar ruts could take them across the Jordan and into the Promised Land.
If we consider the average church calendar, it is easy to see the ruts and the events we perform and participate in year after year. We plan them, sweat over them, encourage others to come to them, then drop exhausted at the end of the year realizing that, once again, we have become slaves of our own events and followed the ruts of previous feet.
I am wondering if we are willing to ask the hard question, “Lord, is this what you had in mind for your church?”
The problem with the path through the Jordan and into the Promised Land is that it is uncharted. There are no ruts to follow — just the voice of one calling in the wilderness. He invites us to leave the rut and follow Him to fish for men.
Who ever heard of such a radical idea? We can’t fish in the desert while we are following the ruts around the mountain one more time! He commands us to go and make disciples, then says that if we love Him, we will obey His commands.
That’s not fair! Doesn’t He know that we don’t have time to make disciples while we are busy planning the events that He did not command? Doesn’t He know that we measure our success by attendance at the events we are planning for His glory?
May God give us the grace this year to embrace the resolution of listening with repentance. Maybe then we will be able to hear Him say that He measures success by watching us model for our disciples how to lay down our lives to make other disciples. God hasn’t changed His mind. The only model that Jesus left for His church was the making of disciples who produce other disciples.
Perhaps then, we could ask each other at the end of the year, “How are your disciples doing? Are they making other disciples?” rather than “How was the attendance at your crusade (or revival or convocation)?”
Rayman is an instructor at the Coastal Georgia School of Missions and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance of Liberty County.