If you ever want to see me at my passive-aggressive rebellious best, make me believe you are wasting my time. Make an appointment but don’t show up, you are on my list. Extend a meeting with inanities, I will either walk out or call a point to close the meeting. I am definitely peevish about time. Preacher, please say it once and I’ve got it.
I don’t how I developed this attitude. Perhaps, it was the feeling that jobs that I did not like doing as a kid were being needlessly stretched out to fill time. Barbara Kingsolver once remarked that her mother used eight hours of every day to clean the house. She knew she could do it in a fourth of the time. One can always believe there is something else to be done while a job that is not so pleasant takes time. I have noticed my children can always hurry to do nothing worth while…in my opinion. Stop arguing with me and just do what I told you.
Efficiency is the watch word of the industrial world. This is such a problem for us in this age that people will leave an exciting and riveting ballgame to be sure to get a jump on traffic. If time is so precious, why did they come to the game, the theater, or to church?
This is a good question that brings my type-A personality into judgment. “Aren’t you ready, yet?” Or how about, “I’ll rest when I am dead.” I recall Jesus taking time for prayer and rest. I wonder why Christians in our culture believe that we must always be doing something that just fills time.
Most meetings and reports in the business world are about managing other people. It is a way of commanding presence and teaching who is in charge. When a business is failing, meetings increase and more data is collected. Selling product gets lost. The same holds true for a church. Ministries are pushed aside “because we can’t afford them.” While meeting to see how we can “turn things around” increase. Learn a new technique or gimmick and this will help.
I now have exposed another reason for my peevishness about efficiency. When I worked in the business world we tended to make better sales when more people were working at selling. When someone worked at managing paperwork and people, it took away from the primary purpose for having a store (or later a factory). Misplaced efficiency said do more with less. Pharaoh said make bricks without straw. It was and is the same problem.
The church today is full of leaders (both lay and ordained) who want to fix the problem of decline by doing everything but live out the Good News of God’s kingdom. Why do we believe God is impressed with our ingenuity? The only time Jesus dealt with numbers was to ask the disciples why they had no faith when they had fed 4000 people and then 5000 people.
America though believes busyness is next to godliness. We must always plan something for our hardest workers and hardest working volunteers to do. If we can’t find enough, we will hold a meeting. But, the meeting must have a purpose. A formula or technique must be taught. So, here it is. Be Christian. Make your church a fellowship of Christians living out the values of the reign of God because that is all the church is selling. Salvation was never our product. That was and is God’s business. Our business as Christians is to be Christians.