So what do Icebergs, Ducks and the Kingdom of God have in common?
Last Sunday after the Midtown Gathering, a man was sharing with me some of the issues, ideas, and ponderings that he has been wrestling with lately. At one point he asked me something like this… “So do you think the church is getting it?” I’ll be honest I don’t always even know what “it” is, but it’s a great question that has many different forms. Are we getting the “church without walls” vision? Are figuring out how to “leave a gospel mark” on the world? Are taking seriously the charge to be more like Jesus? Are we changing in a positive direction?
So I’ve been thinking about that — are we and am I getting it?
Alan Webber, a business journalist, former editor at Harvard Business Review has a blog called “Rules of Thumb.” Yesterday’s blog was entitled “Icebergs and Ducks.” What do icebergs and ducks have in common? With both icebergs and ducks you can’t get the full picture unless you look below the surface. Ever since the movie the Titanic we have known that 80% of an iceberg is below the surface. Same with ducks, if you look at a duck floating on the water, everything looks calm, placid and passive, but below the surface, those little feet are paddling like crazy. It’s all below the surface.
It’s no different in the Kingdom of God. In order to know if I or we “are getting it,” we have to look below the surface. This is true for the church and for us as individuals. In fact Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The very wellspring of life is below the surface.
But where do we look to determine how we are doing? We tend to look surface level. It’s easier, quicker, more quantifiable. Is the church getting “it?” Well the offerings are increasing, the number of people coming to our gatherings are increasing, the number of complaints we are getting is decreasing — yep we are getting it. But if “it” is below the surface — surface level looks don’t really answer the question.
I’m not saying we’ll never see the changes above the surface, of course we will, but we need to be students of what is below the surface. So I’m looking and listening for below surface stories of heart change: Transformation, freedom from addiction, relational reconciliation, people focusing more on what I can give than on what I need to get, movement from consumer-oriented church-shopping to community-oriented teammates working together for the cause of Christ.
There is a parable coming up in our study of Mark that says, “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.” The mustard seed is such a tiny seed but it grows above the surface into a might tree. But the change, the growth, the life, started below the surface.
So what’s going on below the surface in you?