05 Feb Stay on Message
We should thank God faith does not work like the Iowa caucuses! Now for politics, caucusing works just fine, although the events of this week might suggest otherwise. I will give the Iowans their due, it is an interesting approach.
I admit that I have never actually known how they caucus in Iowa, but I do now. The CliffsNotes version: You get to vote twice, if you want to reconsider. People gather in their voting precinct location, and the room has designated spaces for each candidate being considered. Voters get 30 minutes to pick a candidate and are allowed to discuss with other voters. They take a count, and your candidate has to be “viable” by achieving 15% of the total votes in the room. If not, that is when the fun begins.
Viable candidates cannot lose voters, but supporters of inviable candidates can join together to push someone to the necessary 15%, join a viable candidate, or they can abstain from the second vote. That is it. If at first you don’t succeed, vote again.
As foreign as that may feel to people not from Iowa, it is more familiar than you think. Churches have a version of this when they pick the ministry that defines them. They can have a project that becomes the primary reason they exist. It may be a food pantry, a thrift store, a homeless ministry, or social cause. It happens slowly, but church members begin to pick the project over the Gospel.
I have talked a bunch lately about how Paul defines the mission of the church in Ephesians 4:12-13. We are to equip people for “the work of service” to expand the Body of Christ and grow in faith. Choosing the work of service over that purpose of the church is akin to deciding the Gospel is not viable and casting a second vote for the desirable ministry. The work of service is not the Good News. The Good News is the love of God realized in salvation from sin and death through Jesus.
One of the most known verses in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13:13: “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Faith is seen in believing that Jesus died our death, He transforms us, and He gives us eternal life. Because of His presence, followers of Jesus are filled with hope. We believe something special is happening inside of us and in the world…always. Love is our response to that hope: We love Jesus, and we love others.
We never pick anything over Jesus. If the way we share the message of Jesus is not popular, we do not come up with something else to say; we figure out a way to explain the message better. Jesus came because He loved every single one of us, and He sends us to share that love with the world. So, we go with hope for a new day when at least one more will know who Jesus is because of us. How we share the message changes, but the Good News will always be good news to those who hear it.
Blessings to you,