If we’re honest, don’t most of us think bigger is better? For example, our prayer lives, the longer and more elegant our prayers the better we think they are. But doesn’t this fly in the face of Jesus’ teaching on prayer found in Luke 11:1 through 11? Here simplicity and brevity along with heartfelt perspective and devotion are what’s really important. The same can be seen in Mark 12: 41 through 44 where the widows very small, 2 mite offering, was the largest offering because she gave humbly and gave everything she had. Or, Micah 5: 2 where Jesus is prophesied to come from Bethlehem Ephrathah “too little to be among the clans of Judah”. And, of course, the verses on faith like a mustard seed, the power of the human tongue, a very small rudder directing a much larger ship, and Jesus and His 12 disciples.
There are a number of human examples as well. The Lincoln’s Gettysburg address was only 272 words and delivered in less than two minutes compared to the keynote speaker, former senator and Secretary of State Edward Everett’s 13,000 words speech that took about two hours to deliver and was the much more talked about and celebrated speech. Yet, today, most of us don’t remember the speech or the speaker for that matter.
I say all this to make a point. The church to easily gets wrapped up in bigger is better and the more technology we use the better and the more people we’ll be able to reach. All very commendable goals, but possibly contrary to much of Jesus’ teaching. This is not to knock mega churches, I am a member of one. But I caution that we have to be very careful to not over utilize all the time saving, technical advances available like television, radio, livestreaming, internet, etc. Allow me to give a very simple example, communicating with the church membership. Admittedly this often depends on the speed the information needs to be disseminated and the size of the church itself. Unfortunately, if not careful, we’ll find ourselves communicating with the church’s membership always via email with very little person-to-person communications and, therefore, missing out/ failing to take advantage of a very simple yet vital relationship building opportunity. And, at least in my opinion, more closely mirroring the world’s communication style rather than Jesus’ who seemed to deliberately think “small” investing so much of his time and energy in his 12 disciples. Jesus was birthing His church and did it by investing most of His time and energies into 12 pretty ordinary and average men for roughly 3 years. And the Bible tells us He came to planet earth at just the right time. So, if He, historically speaking, avoided all these time saving devices, preferring old fashioned person to person and smaller is better relationship nurturing communication mechanisms, perhaps so should we.
Perhaps it’s time for some good old time religion?