Sooner or later, true followers of Christ come face to face with the reality that the world will not be reached without significant discomfort and radical change. The Apostle Paul summarizes this truth as follows:
I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I might share in its blessings (1 Cor 9:22-23). What would lead a man like Paul to embrace radical change? Why would he leave the comfort of his home, the close support of his friends and a fruitful ministry? Because of a little word that carries a big price tag: all. Years earlier, Jesus employed the same word to shatter the small aspirations of his closest followers and lift them to a level worthy of their calling:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matt 28:17-20). As we reflect upon the price of ‘all,’ it compels us to consider what changes God may be calling upon us to make. Is significant discomfort and radical change only for the young and restless? Or should it also characterize a 116-year-old organization with a strong track record of stability and success? Is it ever OK to rest in the shadows of our successes? Or is Jesus issuing a fresh call to innovation and change in light of his call to ‘all?’ As the world population passes the seven billion mark (7,000,000,000), we are sobered by the invitation to embrace new levels of discomfort and change by “God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
Originally published in December 2011
DAve Guiles, Executive Director