Are we willing to cast off everything that doesn’t help us reach our goal?

This week I will conclude the series I’ve done on questions for our church’s health. We discussed having a goal, moving towards that goal, and working together in reaching it. This week I want to ask, “Are we willing to cast off everything that doesn’t help us reach our goal?”

            I grew up in southeast Pennsylvania and while I didn’t live in Amish country I was right next door to it. In fact, I had to drive through Amish country to get to school. I very often saw men and women in plain clothes working the fields with their horses. The younger ones would often be traveling up and down the streets on little bicycles or push scooters. It was very scenic. But there was one part of this simple culture that I was not a fan of. It was the horse and buggies. Sure they look so picturesque and they make great logos for your Amish furniture store, but they were a nuisance. If there was a traffic jam in the small town of Honeybrook it was no doubt because a horse and buggy was at the front of it and we all had to wait for them. If that wasn’t enough their horses were always leaving little gifts on the road too if you know what I mean.

But for all their trouble there was something to be learned from these horses drawing a carriage. Every one of the horses was wearing blinders. They had little black riggings next to their eyes that prevented them from seeing anywhere except forward. They kept their eyes directly on the place they were headed and couldn’t focus on something else even if they tried. While it may seem restrictive it was much to their advantage. If they weren’t wearing blinders every car driving next to them or in their direction would have terrified them. They don’t understand traffic laws or red lights and they would frequently think they were in danger even though they weren’t. It would cause them to run every direction except straight. By restricting their vision, the blinders were able to keep them focused on the goal and accomplishing it.

Sometimes I think churches need a good set of blinders. When Jesus left the earth, he said, “Go make disciples!” and yet today so few churches are actually seeing new converts baptized and discipled. The problem is that we have simply become distracted. At one point a church went to the beach each year to evangelize and hand out tracts to the lost, then they decided they liked the beach and what used to be a missions trip was now an annual leisure trip. They got distracted. Another church used to host meals in members’ homes as an opportunity to invite their lost friends to enter a relationship with them. Later, the meals continued but the lost stopped being invited. They got distracted. Now, the beach church wants to use money for missions, but it can’t because its budget is tied up in their leisure trips. The meal church wants to pick a day to go out and evangelize but they can’t because their calendar is already filled with get-togethers. They got distracted.

I pray that Beck’s would be a church willing to bear the burden of wearing a good set of blinders. “Are we willing to cast off everything that doesn’t help us reach our goal?” Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and abandon anything that gets in our way. “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

Are we willing to cast off everything that doesn’t help us reach our goal?