August 19, 2013
Most of us spend most of our days, lost in the micro… and blind to the macro.
In baseball, there is a strategy called small ball. The idea is simple: lacking any home-run hitters, the team relies on getting runners to first base. A steady flow of successes – without unfortunate “outs” to interrupt the plan to populate the bases – should ultimately force runs across home plate. With no expectation of anyone stepping up to swing for the fences and put the fans on their feet, small ball doesn’t excite the audience, but it can ultimately win the outing.
What do you do if everyone on the team is only focused on getting to first base? It’s an important element of the game, but to win the World Series requires an overarching sense of purpose that sees October as the prize, even before Spring Training convenes. The leaders must see past first base…
The Christian experience can quickly erode to micro living, without a long view that anticipates and actualizes the macro vision. In the ‘90’s, the evangelical crowd centered on a bracelet that asked, “WWJD?” Acrostic for What Would Jesus Do?, the query was most often applied to the right response to getting too much change from the cashier, or stepping out of bounds without a penalty flag in a touchdown run at the championship game. The answer to WWJD? addressed micro questions, for the most part, and never encompassed the macro issues highlighted in Philippians 2:5-11 (look it up!).
“What is God up to?” is a question we raise internally, more often than in a coffee-and-cake group on Wednesday nights. It’s a response to life’s unexpected interruptions – the fender-bender while on the way to an important meeting, or the diagnosis of a chronic – though, manageable – disease. We seek his purpose in small ball, micro scenes… and too seldom have in mind the home run play. What is God up to?
“Cosmic restoration: nothing less adequately describes God’s mission. In fact, God has committed himself not only to re-create his universe to its original, spectacular condition but also – as the Bible’s apocalyptic literature attempts to convey – to display added, inexpressible magnificence in the coming new heaven and new earth. The God of the Bible is a big God, and his mission is a big mission.
“God’s mission also concerns micro needs and situations. What happens to an infant, an elderly woman, a child fending for his own in one of the world’s countless urban slums, as well as any non-human creature, big or small, falls within God’s deep love and concern. You and I are dependent on God as our provider, counselor, and king. It is in very personal ways that you and I serve God, participate in his mission, and experience his ongoing presence,” (from The Glory of God, by Christopher W. Morgan).
Genesis 1 opens the Story of Everything with an amazing recounting of the Origins of all we can see. God is the ever-present main character, and his exploits – in summation – involve the output of the Creator’s workshop during a six-part cycle. What’s the purpose of the creation of the universe? Shocking: to provide a place for his ultimate work product – the human race – to call “home.” Man was not made to serve the environment; the environment was created to serve mankind.
Adam and Eve blew it. They suffered consequence, and so did the environment. God hit the “reset” button, and Jesus came to Earth to put the New Plan in play. The Old Testament begins with Creation; the New Testament points toward re-Creation. The macro model is all things new… and the Great Commission is our assignment in preparation for that culmination of his Plan.
So, a question I pose to myself – and, to you – as we ready ourselves for the re-launch that comes with Labor Day: are we just playing small ball, trying to get to first… or are we on the way to the World Series? What’s the Big, Holy, Audacious Goal (BHAG) that gets you swinging for the fences?
Macro? or, Micro? That’s the constant challenge, today and everyday…