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.