When my daughter Luciana was four years old, my wife and I took her on an afternoon outing at the pier on St. Simons Island. It was a sunny, coastal Georgia day, and we went to the village area—a popular spot with shops, walking paths, and, in the span of about two hundred yards, two playgrounds. One has all the big, new equipment and the other is tiny and not very exciting. We happened to park in front of the not-so-exciting playground—directly in our path to the bigger, better playground. Our goal was always to go to the more exciting one, but something happened along the way. When we passed the small one, Luci ran over and started to play. I was surprised to see she was enjoying the low-grade mulch and sub-par aluminum. Man, if she likes this, she will love the big playground, I thought.
So, in my fatherly wisdom, I said, “Okay, Luci, let’s go. There is an even better playground right over there.” I pointed to the perfectly exciting jungle of plastic, which was in clear view and just a short walk away—at least if you are six feet tall. For a vertically challenged four-year-old, she could not see farther than the few feet around her.
When I suggested moving on, I was met with a shocking temper tantrum. Our happy outing was unraveling. “I am trying to help you,” I said, forgetting that using logic with a four-year-old is like trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Despite my reasoning, she continued to throw a major fit: “I want to stay in this playground!” she yelled.
It is easy to get stuck in our comfortable playgrounds, isn’t it? I wonder if this is what God sees when He looks at His followers. Through the Scriptures and nature, God has shown us the greater design that He imagined for the Church—that we would be one body, bringing our collective strengths to the table, loving and serving one another as we build His kingdom throughout the world. But somewhere along the way, we got stuck in our smaller playgrounds. Like four flat tires, have we become immovable, unwilling to dream?
What if there is a bigger, better reality just around the corner that God has invited us into?
Today, the current reality of the Church is a fragmented state. We have bought the lie that journeying from our playground to the bigger and better one is impossible. We are planted in our scattered kingdoms, thinking we are safe behind our fortified walls, not realizing that in reality, we are stuck in self-made cages.
God’s heart is grieved. Yet sadly, our divided state doesn’t bother us that much. Lack of forgiveness, bitterness, and envy abound in the personal lives of believers and at the corporate level of our churches. In both private and public forums, Christians slander one another. We are so busy building our own brands we have no time left to build community-wide collective movements that mobilize the whole Body of Christ. Trends of competition and individualism significantly undermine the effectiveness of our mission. We are miniature isolated flocks.
Yes, we might have numbers globally (an estimated 2 Billion+ professing Christians), but we have lost the defensive power of unified numbers, preferring isolation in more comfortable habitats—playgrounds—that meet our individual preferences or opinions. Despite the universal claim among believers that there is one Lord and one Church, all the practical evidence of how we operate says differently.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Lucas Ramirez