Getting it done — do the ends justify the means?
As my wife and I raise a new generation of our family, there are times that I need the kids to do some task around the house. There are some tasks about which I am interested in the simple outcome or result: is the floor clear of toys and dirty clothes? There are some tasks about which I am interested in the techniques used: did you really use soap when you washed your hands?
As a person who calls himself a Christian, I am meant to live a life that looks more like the life of Jesus every day. Does this mean I wear sandals everywhere I go? No.
Does this mean that I am to love those around me with grace, peace, and forgiveness, even if they don’t extend them to me? Yes.
Does this mean that I do this effectively and faithfully every day? Nope, but God gave me today to try again and to mature in the way I live with God and others.
One of the challenges we encounter is balancing what needs to get done and how we do it. I know there are times that I “just need to get it done.” When that happens I often adopt a “bull-dog” or “bull-dozer” mentality. I won’t let go, or I won’t let anything (or anyone) stand in my way. I may get the matter accomplished, but sometimes I leave a path of destruction in my wake. I may do a rushed job, pay less attention to details, ignore or push aside other people or even hurt them by what I do. I may have something to show for my work, but at what cost?
In Matthew 23, Jesus addresses the people in Jerusalem days before his arrest. He raises examples in which he criticizes people for how they behave, regardless of the results they reach. He chides them for appearing to be clean/holy/right with God, but showing their true nature inside. He compares them to the tombs that were visible on the hills outside Jerusalem. “You are like white-washed tombs, which the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of bones of the dead and all kinds of filth.”
It’s not just what I say, but how I say it. Not just what I do, but how I do it. Lord, transform my heart and help me reach the right end-result.
REV. MICHAEL KENDALL is lead pastor of Farmville United Methodist Church. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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