If you are a Twilight Zone enthusiast like I am (my wife and I watched the marathon on Christmas Eve and Christmas), you will remember the episode, Rip Van Winkle Caper. As the story goes, four thieves, led by scientist-mastermind, Farwell, stole $1 million worth of gold bricks. They hid in a secret cave, in the desert in suspended animation chambers, designed by Farwell. The chambers were set for 100 years, figuring by 2061, nobody would remember the robbery and the gang would be in the clear.
When they woke up, that’s when things went wrong. One of the gang was already dead, a skeletal remain, because a large boulder shattered his chamber. Because of greed, the three remaining thieves turn on one another and two more thieves were killed. Farwell, the scientist-mastermind, was the last of the Rip Van Winkles. He walked through the hot desert and made his way to the highway, but collapsed before he got there. A futuristic car drove up and Farwell offered a gold brick to the couple inside in exchange for water and a ride to the nearest town, but Farwell died moments later.
As the man got back in the car to report Farwell’s death, he curiously remarked to his wife, “Can you imagine that? He offered this (the gold brick) to me as if it was really worth something.” The wife vaguely recalled that it had indeed been valuable in the distant past. The husband replied, “Sure, about a hundred years or so ago, before they found a way to manufacture it,” and he tossed the gold bar away.
What a commentary on the church and us as Jesus followers! We have been asleep for too long in our suspended animated chambers of irrelevancy. While we slept, the world changed. Some of the things and programs that were once valuable, have become worthless. People are looking for real life, but we offer them the bitter waters of dead or dying programs. They say to one another,”Can you imagine that? They offered us this (lifeless programs, dead worship services, and inauthentic lives).
If the Church and Jesus followers are going to be relevant 100 years from now, we must be like the sons of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32): understand the temper of the times and know the best course for the Church to take (1 Chronicles 12:32). The best course for us to take is not to offer dead or dying programs, but to offer people Jesus, God’s unspeakable gift, whose value does not ever change or grow old; He is the same today, yesterday and forever.
Our call is not to chase our own dreams, but to chase the Jesus dream of making life-giving disciples who will go out and make life-giving disciples.
Will what you are chasing still be valuable in the future? Under what circumstances might its value change? Might something you now consider worthless take on value in the future?
Tell me what you think.
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