You’ve read it too. You probably have it memorized:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. -1 Corinthians 9:24
From what I’ve seen, running to win the race (1 Cor 9:24) often leaves people behind in a sense. Yet I’ve heard countless times that it’s unloving to move on and leave people behind who refuse to “pick up their mat and walk”, accept healing for their wounds, take care of themselves, and “run to win”.
It’s common to be frowned upon, even ridiculed by other leaders, if you’re seen as a person who is willing to press forward hard and fast even if it means leaving others behind who don’t want to run to win the prize (Phil 3:14).
Wasn’t that verse written for everyone?
Recently I heard a quote from a mentor I respect that said, “When your garbage doesn’t get picked up you don’t call in and they say, ‘Hey that’s mean! You aren’t loving your neighbor!’, because you just need someone to do the job and that’s understood.”
He was talking about how the church needs people to do the work. Plain and simple. This stuck with me though because of how dominant this “never push hard enough you leave people behind” mentality is.
Maybe this only pertains to “staff” and leadership (I don’t think so)?
If it does, get someone in leadership to minister to those who insist on dragging so that you can lead forward those who don’t.
Maybe I’m just young and idealistic (probably a bit)?
If so, it doesn’t change that leadership only happens because you’re moving. A person can’t follow something that doesn’t move!
The church isn’t a hospital. It’s an army.
This church isn’t a local hospital building with a staff that oversees operations. It’s an army of people on a global battlefield, moving, fighting, being wounded, being healed, and moving again.
Sure, build hospitals as secondary functions if you want, but don’t make it your primary function.
I hear it: “But Jesus ministered to the hurting and the sick!”
Yes Jesus ministered to the hurting and sick. He even said he came for the sick! (Mark 2:17) Yet I think we’ve twisted this. Think about it…
In Mark 2:17, Jesus effectively said he was a physician. He was a moving physician, seeking and calling the hurt.
He fought for the hurting. He healed them and ministered to them. He sought them out! Yet he didn’t just hang out with them for days, weeks, months, years and hope they get better. He gave them truth and instruction and healing. If they heeded it, practiced it, accepted it, they would be healed, and then they joined him as healthy mobile nurses working for the physician. If they didn’t – they missed out and he moved on.
We should be soldier nurses. Fighting to find the hurt and helping them meet the physician.
We’ve twisted this into an easy-way-out thing in which we find a few people who are hurting (most are the Christians already around us) and then we just hang with them. We just set up a camp and all chill together for “however long is needed.” Because, “Jesus would do that! It’s loving.”
Teaching people to stay sick. Defecting as soldiers.
By doing this, are we not teaching people it’s okay to stay that way?
- Stay depressed – It’s not your fault – it’s a sickness. Not a sin like the Bible says…
- Stay caught in your sin – Sanctification is a long process… Or, it’s a sickness…
- Stay sad – Sure Jesus is greater than this, but this loss is hard, ya know. It’s okay to grieve… forever…
- Stay confused – God doesn’t just give us the answers. I mean, he does, but they’re hard to find… or understand…
- Stay stressed – You’re too busy to find peace and rest in Jesus. We’ve all been there… are there…
In the church, the best way to get more attention is to be the sick one needing help. So the people stay that way, rather than healing and becoming a physician soldier that gives attention to other people and does hard work day in and day out, continually finding our joy and satisfaction in Christ.
I worry that this act disguised as love is actually a complete failure and defection as a soldierWe teach our people it’s somehow right to let them stay that way in the name of “not being unloving”. Thus also teaching our leaders not to push themselves hard, not be a person who gets stuff done and seeks out more of the hurting and lost.
Then we wonder why our leaders become just like those they were supposedly leading. They quit doing the hard work and become the hurting as well.
Cause it’s easier and it’s allowed!
I worry that this act disguised as love is actually a complete failure and defection as a soldier.
The worse thing is that it seems noble and hard (hurting people are hard to love so we always feel like we’re failing – cause we are!).
Yet it will doom our church in the long run. If we as leaders in the church do this, then won’t we just leave those who are running in place waiting to move, dissatisfied?
The highly motivated leaders get worn out from running in place or they run on to a new place or start their own things. That’s how local church groups die.
This has problems of it’s own, because we get crazy, young, immature, idealistic people leading.
But maybe a poorly trained soldier is better than no soldier. Cause after all, we’re just nurse soldiers prepping for and introducing the true physician, Jesus.