Saturday, March 9, 2013

Barricades and Bulldozers

Think back in your life about your teachers.  Some were life impacting and will be remembered as the best you ever had, and others were just bad.  What made the difference?  I asked this of a group of people and the best teachers were known for their passion and knowledge, their genuine care for the students, and the ability to maintain and demand high standards while challenging us to reach them.  The bad teachers were the opposite in almost every dimension.

Recently, I have been meditating on two statements of Christ that are very contrasting.  The first passage is found in Matthew 23:33 &14 where we hear Him say to the religious leaders, "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God's kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won't let anyone else in either." (The Message)

In stark opposition, to describe His ministry, Christ quotes Isaiah 40:3 & 4 "Thunder in the desert!  Prepare for God 's arrival!  Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God.  Fill in the valleys, level off the hills, smooth out the ruts, clear out the rocks." (The Message)

The title of this blog comes from the images of these passages.  In one case, spiritual leaders were barricades, blocking the believers ability to get to their destination in Christ.  In the other group, they were people who did everything possible to prepare the way and help people get there.  They were doing the hard work of the bulldozers leveling the road.

It is any easy to draw the conclusion that we are clearly bulldozers.  But are we really willing to look at our lives, our churches and our practices.  When I look at our own mission, I see procedures and policies that 40 years were at the time greatly simplified the preparation and sending of global missionaries.  Today, modern transportation, the internet, and global real-time communications  has changed our reality.  Those same policies that once simplified life, now represent barriers to the sending of a new generation of missionaries called to ministry together with a truly global missionary force.

Where this becomes so complicated and demands the leading of the Holy Spirit is trying to determine what is a necessary 'high standard' that Christ is calling to, verses a roadblock to the the Gospel, the Kingdom and the future.

As I journey forward, my desire is to find myself on the side of Christ doing everything possible to make disciples who are so committed and engaged that they themselves form new disciples ultimately resulting in communities of Christians - "little Christs".  I want to be remembered as one of the good teachers - passionate, knowledgeable, demanding, and caring, doing everything I can to make others successful in Christ.