WORDS FROM W.W. June 26, 2011
One of my favorite Jesus stories is the “swine dive” in Mark 5. In case you don’t have it memorized, it’s the story of Jesus’ encounter with the demon-possessed man. The man is so afflicted that his name is Legion, an implication about how many demons has taken up residence in his life.
Jesus is going to set this poor fellow free and the demons request that he send them into a herd of pigs nearby. When that happened there was a two thousand swine mass stampede to death.
I can only imagine what that must have looked like. I’m seen a bunch of guys rush into a lake to try to get the greased watermelon, or a herd of crazed people rushing through the doors of Walmart on the day after Thanksgiving about 4am…and those were quite the sights, but I’ve never seen a herd of pigs racing to their doom.
I think of that story because of another comment that was made by a man who assigns basketball officials to college games. He said “moving too quickly maximizes risk.” His point was about how someone who referees basketball games usually wants to move up the ladder to high school, then Junior College, College, and then…for a very, very few…professional basketball.
He’s seen many officials advance too quickly, and then come crashing down, because they hadn’t put in the necessary time to season their game.
The same principle applies to the growth of a follower of Jesus. Moving too quickly maximizes risk. How many times has someone experienced new life, had incredible enthusiasm and excitement, and been put into a position, or entrusted with certain responsibilities that they weren’t ready for?
Many times!
We expect instant success and sudden stardom. To have gradual growth as a disciple is looked down on.
The responsibility is on the mentors and the Body of Christ. If we don’t see the value in solid gradual growth then no one else will. We even see it in church growth. If a church grows by 50% in one year it’s applauded. There’s a good chance a traveling workshop will arise out of it within the year after that. It’s common for other people to want to copy the sprint to success.
But a sprint to success is on the same level as the swine dive off the steep bank. People aren’t ready for rapid growth, individually and corporately. The first church grew quickly…I mean, off the charts growth patterns…and then it had to stop and figure out the Hellenistic widows who had fallen between the cracks. In essence, it had to stop and think about where things were.
Moving too quickly maximizes risk.
Perhaps that’s why the description of an overseer, or elder, in 1 Timothy 3:6 includes these words: “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.”

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  1. Janet Says:

    I realize I’m late to the game but just found your Blog again to my delight! I have seen that very thing happen (Will Peebles comes to mind) as well as a new CHristian in my present church who is being called on to to be part of leadership because he is a professional person and has been in and out of church his whole life. We’re so often anxious for fresh leadership that we move too quickly.

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