the weblog of Alan Knox

He was a little bit off there. What a shame!

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in discipleship | 6 comments

He was a little bit off there. What a shame!

Have you been watching any of the 2012 Olympics from London? We’ve watched some of the NBC live broadcasts during the afternoon and some of the NBC unlive broadcasts on at night.

I’ve enjoyed several sports, but especially gymnastics. I’ve been intrigued by the commentators covering the gymnastics events. I understand that the judges are looking for perfection and the announcers have to help the audience, but, to be honest, I usually can’t see the mistakes that the judges see and commentators point out. Instead, I see artistry and athleticism that is unmatched by 99.9% (+) of the world’s population.

You know what I’m talking about, right? One hand moved to the side by half an inch too much, or a small step after flipping 10-20 times through the air with a few twists? These are errors… devastating… dream-breaking. Of course, if I tried to do even part of that routine… well, you know how that would turn out.

I wonder if we’re like that among our brothers and sisters in Christ too often. We expect perfection when it comes to almost anything, especially when we are gathered together. One small misstep or one small word misspoken is a huge mistake… devastating… heretical maybe.

So, slowly, this develops into this idea that God demands “excellence”… excellence in speaking ability… excellence in serving… excellence in leadership… excellence in singing… excellence in everything.

And we make God unapproachable for everyone who is not “excellent” (however we define “excellence”).

Interestingly, from reading the New Testament, it seems that God calls and uses the broken… the imperfect… the ones who recognize that they are not excellent and accept others in the un-excellent state.

It seems that every group has their definition of what is expected from others. And if anyone can’t provide that, then they should remain on the sidelines.

I’ve learned something very important over the last several years. Sometimes God speaks loudest through the quietest voice. Sometimes he speaks clearest through some who can barely put a sentence together. Sometimes God serves more powerfully through the one who stumbles along. Sometimes he serves most consistently through some who make mistakes.

And, perhaps I should change “sometimes” above to “often.”

But, what happens when those who are not “excellent” are not allowed to speak or to serve? What happens when only those who are “excellent” speak and serve?

I believe the answer is the same in both cases: the church is less healthy and the growth (maturity) of the church is hindered.


6 Comments

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  1. 8-8-2012

    I LOVE the NLT version of Eph 4:2 (speaking of Ephesians!)-
    “Be patient with each other, making allowance for one another’s faults because of your love.” Can you imagine what the church would look like if the believers obeyed that verse?!

  2. 8-8-2012

    Good post. Interestingly enough, those who set the standards for excellence in the church often fail to see their own shortcomings.

    I always appreciated the humility reflected in Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones statement that he would not bother to cross the street to hear himself preach.

    We need more leaders like the apostle Paul who said his adequacy or competency was from God (2 Cor. 3:5). This same apostle was also very big on the church functioning as a body with many members who contribute to the church meeting by participating in a variety of ways “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7).

    God brings glory to himself by working through the entire body of Christ made up of imperfect people and using humble methods (1 Cor. 1:26-31). More thoughts here: http://www.lambblood.com/no-going-back.html

  3. 8-8-2012

    Our Father gives us the freedom to fail. It is almost as much of a sober responsibility than the freedom to succeed. (almost) I also quite liked MamaT’s Ephesians reference. A common saying around my House is “Do not be harder on yourself than our Father is on you.” It works wonders.
    ———–

    I did notice something today, Alan, that I’d like to ask you. Why don’t you capitalize ‘he’ when referring to The Lord? Or the church? (as in The Church)

    Simply something I have noticed in the years of my Salvation, of course. Some folks capitalize Him, some do not. Curious as to why or why not, Alan. What say you?

  4. 8-8-2012

    I have seen the scripture which says that Daniel had an “excellent spirit” (Daniel 6:3) mistakenly turned around to say that God wants us to have “a spirit of excellence.” The difference is subtle, but significant. Our “spirit of excellence” often sidelines or quarantines that which God wants to use, be it things or people, which are “the weak”, “the foolish” and “the things that are not.” (1 Cor.1:27,28 )We especially see this in those who are perfecting “platform ministry” and the crafted experience of “church”. This ultimately weakens and deprives the church of the riches of Christ’s inheritance that is IN the saints. All of them! “Excellent” post! :-)

  5. 8-8-2012

    If we mentor the saved into becoming true disciples of Jesus, this sort of debate becomes very empty. As I learn to focus more and more on the one who was perfect in the flesh, the more I realize that “but by the grace of God, there go I”.

    At the same time, I will do my best for Him. And one day if He says “that was excellent, Jon” then I will say “Thank you Sir” Until then….

  6. 8-8-2012

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to comment like I want.

    -Alan