One thing that I've realized about myself and that I see often in our churches is that we base a lot of our decisions on pre-built categories. Somewhere in the past a framework was laid down in our thinking and now everything has to fit within that framework. It's much like our homes, where we tend to have a place for everything and do not like for items to be out of the place.
We don't really like those preferences and structures to be challenged, though, do we?
Except sometimes we need to rethink our original assumption. I had two different ideas about how to illustrate this, but I'm going with a video clip from the TV show Scrubs. Here it is:
Now, obviously, we're dealing with absurdity. One keeps pancakes in the fridge drawer, not in the cabinet drawer, but do you see the assumption? Carla expects that the apartment follows everyone else's logic: silverware goes in this drawer. Yet her husband thinks differently: his focus is the pancake. To over-analyze this: food is what matters to Turk, not the tools one uses to eat food.
Now, to application and to hopefully connect these dots:
As followers of Christ, how do we structure our lives? The world around us expects to see a certain amount of order and symmetry, and we tend to mimic what we see in the world. In some ways, that's not all bad. There is no reason to resist logical things, like driving on the same side of the road as everyone else or following a similar work schedule.
Yet there are other things that we need to question. The real food of the disciple of Christ is to do the work of God, just as the Lord Jesus Himself said in John 4:34. When we are focused on doing that work above all else, we lose our focus on the tools.
That may look strange sometimes to other people. Even other church people will question our wisdom and sense. They will think that our priorities are misplaced, that we are not keeping our lives and churches in neat and proper order.
Yet what is the focus? The obedience or meeting the appearance people expect?
It should be a focus on obedience. If that requires changing our methods, our schedules, our habits, then so be it…
The goal is the pancakes….the silverware is secondary.
PS---not saying the silverware is optional nor that it doesn't matter. Just put first things first.