Monday, November 23, 2009

For a Cause or for Christ?

"The disciples didn't lay their lives down for a cause but for a person."

That's how Dave Buehring kicked off his talk on the Ways of God at our Kaboom Retreat (formerly zone leader/team leader retreat) this weekend.

For some reason, that one statement is really challenging me personally and challenging the way I lead my team. I fear that I have spent too much time motivating people to a cause- make disciples, advance the Kingdom, create culture, change a generation, etc. That's all good stuff, but it's not the ultimate goal, is it? Maybe I should focus a bit more on simply elevating the person of Jesus Christ.

Causes are good. Causes build fans and create evangelists. Christ is better. He builds communities of faith and creates martyrs. Not that we all want to rush out to the Colosseum to volunteer ourselves for lion dinner. But laying down our lives is one of the ways we follow Jesus Christ.

The disciples didn't lay their lives down for some great cause that had captivated their emotions and imaginations. They laid their lives down for a person who had already laid his own life down for them.

Why am I more cause focused than person focused? Perhaps it is more comfortable and easy for me to acquaint myself with and attach myself to a cause than to enter a messy and flesh-killing relationship with Jesus Christ.

7 Comments:

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Kris and Anne Harrison said...

Thanks for sharing such challenging words. I am reminded of Mark 8:35, "...whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." There is an intimate connection between the person of Jesus and the mission of Jesus that cannot easily be divorced...

 
At 4:40 PM, Blogger Drew Leaver said...

Great challenge! I see a lot of churches wrestling with how to bring discipleship back into focus (ours included) and I think its for this reason. We're being called to so many movements that we forget to remind people of the reason those movements matter...

Great stuff.

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger Theresa Haskins said...

I heard a sermon preached by Andy Stanley (I believe it's part of the on-line Starting Point curriculum at North Point Church in Atlanta) where he is speaking on the validity of the Bible. One of his arguments was that the disciples were willing to give up their own lives for Christ. Why would anyone do that? I often think how He must have made you feel in His presence. I feel a sense of peace just thinking about Him...

 
At 6:23 PM, Blogger regena sawyer said...

Do I see a book topic in this blog?

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger elenburg said...

Great post and quite thought provoking. But how do you lay down your life for a person other than taking up the cause of that person? Isn't the real issue being sure our cause is the cause of Christ? And, we know what that is. We are told in Matthew 28. IMHO, the Great Commission *is* the cause for which Christ followers are called to take on. Am I wrong?

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Heather Z said...

Yeah, I totally agree with that idea. I just get concerned that too often we focus more on the how we carry out that commission than the who and why. If that makes sense. (And I think that is the clarification you are making).

I'm speaking primarily to those of us who work very hard at casting vision that will captivate the hearts, minds, and passions of those we lead. Maybe we should work harder at having a stronger Christological center and anchor to everything we do.

Does God care about poverty? Absolutely. Does God care about orphans? Absolutely. Does God care about how we run our small groups? Absolutely. But I think we get to those goals by casting a vision of Him first and foremost. We want people to imitate Jesus, not simply get excited about a vision we cast for them.

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger elenburg said...

You nailed it on finding the center, and ensuring that center is Jesus. This is what bothers me most about far left liberals who have lost the Christological center of our faith. Instead of Jesus, they get involved in all sorts of great causes and only speak of some amorphous "love" with no distinction. Charity and benevolence are great, but if Jesus isn't "the way, the truth, and the life" then "we are to be pitied more than all men." [Jn 14:6, 1Cor 15:9]

 

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