Katie abandoned the American dream for the dirt of Uganda.
Katie rescues battered women.
Katie adopted thirteen kids.
There are days I’d like to get rid of mine. And I only have three.
What makes Katie Davis tick? (see her story here)
And why don’t we see more believers going across the sea, much less going across the street?
I think Hebrews has a clue. It’s really easy to replace Jesus with people who point us to Jesus. “For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses – as the builder of a house has more honor than the house….Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later” (3:3, 5).
In other words, the builder of the house (Christ) should be esteemed or valued more than a butler in the house (Moses).
Today, we’ve got a pantry full of butlers.
We have instant access to instant bible studies promising instant growth from such inspiring butlers like Beth Moore, Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Eric Mason, and the legendary Chuck Swindoll.
And I love listening to them. Well except maybe Beth Moore. But that’s because I prefer kilts to skirts, though I hear she’s better than the rest. I fear our adoration of spiritual giants is turning believers into grasshoppers. We gorge on crops carefully prepared for us. We consume but don’t produce. We go from study to study, church to church, podcast to podcast and yet the percentage of bible-believing Christians in America continues to slide. Our mega-churches expand but our cultural influence shrinks.
The author of Hebrews chastised his audience for drinking out of sippy cups when they should be nursing others (5:12-14). Paul used the same metaphor in 1 Corinthians. Instead of cutting into steak, they kept sucking down milk. They spent hours bantering back and forth about the latest book from Apollos, blog from Paul, or tweet from Peter.
“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed as the Lord assigned to each” (3:5). “Guys, why are you arguing about what the butlers said? Listen to the builder!”
God raises apostles, teachers, pastors, and evangelists for the building of the body. And to their credit, most of the giants I follow care more about the gospel than their name. It’s us grasshoppers I worry about. Though the Holy of Holies stays open 24/7, we spend all our time accessing God’s servants rather than God’s son.
Jesus did not die on the cross so we could listen to podcasts.
On the night before his death Jesus huddled up with his friends and said something I find hard to believe, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do” (John 14:12, emphasis added).
Um, didn’t you turn water into wine, transform a boy’s lunch into a buffet, stop a tsunami, and raise a friend from the dead?
I’m not sure this verse is talking as much about miracles as influence. Jesus had fewer followers around his table at the Last Supper than Katie Davis has around her dinner table every night.
How is such influence possible? At the Last Supper, Jesus said he was going away but someone would show up to teach them all things, “But the Helper, John Piper, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things” (John 14:26, emphasis and John Piper added).
No disrespect to Piper. I’ve hedonistically consumed all his works.
And that’s part of my problem. I’m a consumer of Jesus’ products at the expense of being consumed by Jesus. I’m quick to forward a blog, recommend a book, or pass on a podcast. And I’m not even tweeting. I feel so behind.
I can’t tell you how many times I say, “Did you hear what Driscoll or Chandler or Piper said?” And how few times I say, “Let me tell you what the Spirit told me.”
When spiritual giant Francis Chan (by the way, Crazy Love is crazy good, especially chapter 4, crap, did it again) traded his mega-church for the streets of San Francisco one of the reasons was because he feared his people were more excited about hearing from him than the Holy Spirit.
Our spiritual giants aren’t the only ones who have access to God. He still speaks to us. The same power than parted the Red Sea and raised Christ from the dead doesn’t just reside in Billy Graham. Greater works are on our horizon.
Katie Davis actually believes that. And she’ll be first to tell you that doing great things for God is rarely glamorous (Katie blog). We treat it as glamorous, exciting, and unique because it’s unfortunately so foreign to the “average American believer.”
But in Acts, Katie Davis’ like faith was the rule rather than the exception (2:42-47; 4:32-37).
You may not go to Uganda (don’t rule it out either), but there’s someone near you who is far from God. When Jesus said, “Go…” he didn’t mean, “to church.”
After the spies returned from the Promised Land, God’s people feared giants and felt like grasshoppers. In the previous year they had watched God do feats through Moses, defeat armies through Moses, and speak through Moses. I guess since Moses wasn’t going to challenge the Nephilim to a cage fight, they tapped out. Paul said be wary of people who seem to know God but have no power (2 Tim. 3:5).
In the Israelites’ day, their giants carried swords. In America, I think our giants carry Scripture. The enemy can use both to stifle the people of God.
It’s really easy to replace Jesus with people who point us to Jesus.
In fact, I heard Driscoll tweeted that the other day…
- Though God uses great preachers/teachers to point us to Christ, ultimately its so we might do the “work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:11). Here’s the question, “Where is Jesus sending you?” Remember the words of James 5:16-17, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man, with a nature like ours…” He’s made from the same stuff. As William Carey, the missionary to India said, “Expect great things (from God), attempt great things (for God).” The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in all believers. What’s the Spirit empowering you to do for his glory?
- Pull the emergency brake on a regular basis. It’s hard to make margin for God when we saturate our Sabbaths with soccer games and our week with non-stop appointments. Those commitments don’t just magically show up on our calendars. As busy people, when we carve that time out, we generally fill it with people who point us to Jesus rather than Jesus. It’s like we’re given directions to God, but never jump in the car. Jesus, at the height of his popularity made it a point to access his Father (Mark 1:29-39). He paid a high price so we could experience the Father’s presence. Take advantage of it.
- Hebrews also calls us to imitate our leaders’ faith (13:7). Keep listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and forwarding tweets – maybe dial it back a bit. They are encouraging. Just remember they are butlers. Connect with the Builder and see what he desires to build through you for his glory (Heb. 3:6).