Monday, April 24, 2017

Bad Strategies

Have you ever noticed how bad Jesus was at strategies for accomplishing His goals?

He wanted to be the Savior of the world, but He kept telling people not to tell others who He was (Matt 16:20; Matt 17:9; Mark 7:36; Mark 8:30; Mark 9:9). He sought to reach the masses but spent an inordinate amount of time with 12 men. He was offered the kingship (John 6:15) and He went and hid. When a rich man asked Him how to be saved, He pushed him away with "Sell what you possess and give to the poor," the last thing this guy would want to hear (Matt 19:21). When others came to Him to follow Him, He blew them off with harsh language. "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:57-62). Instead of just getting along, He angered the local religious leader with His intolerance (Matt 21:23-46). He put harsh requirements on people to follow Him, like "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:27) He intentionally withheld information from potential listeners (Matt 13:10-17).

These are failed strategies. Jesus was clearly unaware of superior marketing techniques. We know His strategies failed because, while He managed to accumulate thousands of people who wanted to hear Him, He ended up dying almost alone. He started with 12 and ended with less than that. At the end of His time on earth the biggest number we can find is "500 brothers" (1 Cor 15:6) when there were previously crowds of "five thousand men, besides women and children." (Matt 14:21) Bad move.

Or ... not. Maybe His strategies were good, accomplishing exactly what He intended. Maybe He sought to make disciples rather than converts and followers rather than crowds. Maybe He intended to teach them all that they needed to know rather than simply acquaint them with a surface idea and let them go. Maybe His purpose was relationship rather than religion. Maybe His aim was not the marketing of the faith, but the making of believers who would bear fruit and could pass it on to others. But ... if that's the case, could it be that we, today, might have some faulty ideas about what we are supposed to be doing and how to do it? Because we sure don't seem to be doing it His way.

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