Americans do NOT like to admit this, especially really smooth running churches, but here is the truth: The Kingdom of God is terribly inefficient. It’s messy. It just, quite honestly, doesn’t make sense.
But, doggone it, we’re AMERICANS and we WILL make sense of it! We WILL make it efficient… God bless America!
Exhibit A: The Parable of the Sower.
At first glance, we get upset at the inefficiency of the sower. Why in the world do you throw seed on a sidewalk? Well, we then learn more about how the ancient farmer would sow seed, then we would correct that by talking about JUST the good seed in the good soil. We would conclude that we need to concentrate on the good soil, because Jesus wants us to be strategic in our “gospeling.” Why? Because the Kingdom of God is efficient.
We equate American efficiency with “biblical values.”
But that is not the Kingdom. It is messy. It is involved. Jesus doesn’t hang out with scumbags for photo ops and Facebook updates. He doesn’t pick backwater fishermen just to prove a point to the Pharisees. Quite honestly, he probably makes sure he doesn’t pick “A list” leadership material to show WHO is the Leader. (We really don’t teach THAT in our leadership/pastoral training any more.)
The Kingdom is about getting in the mess and seeing what can happen. The message of the Kingdom can go into awful places (by our standards), but OUR measure of “awfulness” isn’t the point.
We too often want to know our “return on investment” before we give our time or resources. We just need to get in and get messy. Sow the seed because we can’t see the condition of the soil. So we engage the addicts, the sexually bound, the religiously different, and on and on. Why? Because the Kingdom is messy and we can’t see the soil!
It’s terribly inefficient.
But it happens to be immensely powerful as well.