A quote from Blackadder from Captain Darling, both trying to work out ways of avoiding death in the first world war by trying to escape the trenches, yet neither of the two men wants to admit that actually they are afraid of fighting and dying.
Captain Darling, manages to get a safe job behind a desk, and Blackadder tries (and fails) to be posted elsewhere.
This picture reminds me of uncomfortable (and maybe uncharitable) thoughts and conversations I have had with Christians about mission and evangelism.
The truth seems to be they’d rather be doing something nice and pleasantly Christian rather than the costly and sacrificial following of Jesus.
Interestingly, we were doing an outreach on Easter Saturday, and the Church was full of people doing flowers, but only one person came out onto the streets to do outreach with us.
I remember once we were desperately short of people to help with out teenagers and one person emailed to say she couldn’t do it because she was the only singer who could sing soprano (or something like that) in the choir.
The problem is this is it is majoring on the minor.
Prioritising the trivial over the transformative.
Our will being done, not Christ’s will be done.
Discipleship cannot be conditional discipleship, following Jesus only when we happen to be going in the same direction.
Decaf Christianity with extra milk foam.
when I was at college there was a cartoon that said “God I will go anywhere you call me too” and underneath it said “provided it is in Surrey”.
It made me think, is the problem with discipleship in the west that it is discipleship on our terms?
A phrase that often challenges me is “If Christ is not Lord of all, is he Lord at all?”
I think all of us find it easier to serve God when it is fun and rewarding, it is harder when it is seemingly making little progress.
Rather than being a backseat driver I fear when the call looks costly, or it is hard-work and a slog, we wrench the steering wheel out of God’s hand or pull up the handbrake and rush for the nearest cushy and consumerist gathering and end up seeking out roles of maximum kudos for minimum cost, the safest option.
The truth is following Jesus is either about obedience and faithfulness or disobedience and sin, the problem is that too often we try and give sin and disobedience a sugar coating of religiosity and respectability.
Blackadder sought glory but not the danger, wants recognition without risk, medals without cost, honour without achievement, and reward without sacrifice.
Yet Christianity has never been safe.
Jesus talks of picking up our cross and following him.
Following Christ will cost us everything we have, it is an “everything or nothing choice”.
As I thought about this blog, I wondered about getting David Beckham to make the squash at football matches. It is a job he could do, but it is substantially short of what he is capable of, and leaves the wider body deprived and should short.
Too many are full of potential that they leave deliberately untapped, because -as a proverb says- “many opportunities are missed because they come in overalls and look like work”.
Lets not give God the fag butts of our time, energy, gifting and resources rather than our first fruits.
So, let’s not be like Captains Darling and Blackader trying to slope off the battle-field, but instead bravely give all that we have, our best efforts and richest resources in the service of King Jesus.