Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Did Jesus have favorites?

Check out this interview with Andy Stanley and John Maxwell on Catalyst TV and tell me what you think. (You can right click on this link and "Save Target As" to download the video file.)


thaberean said...

Hogwash, Dangerous, and Sad come to mind when I view this clip!

It’s a classic example of how easy it is for us to be squeezed into the world’s (in this case, the business world’s) mold, rather than being transformed by God’s Word.

It’s also a perfect example of why what we believe matters – not just what we do (since actions follow beliefs).

Let’s examine what Maxwell said that was true:
1) Jesus did in fact spend much more time with the Twelve than with the crowds, but this was later in His ministry and after He’d been rejected repeatedly
2) Jesus did spend even more time with His ‘inner circle’ (James, John, and Peter) than with the other nine disciples

That’s about where the truth ends. Here are the distortions:
1) Jesus’ motive for doing the above was NOT some leadership principle where he was focusing on ‘8s and 9s’ (Maxwell’s damaging language) rather than ‘2s and 3s’ – Jesus was NOT choosing folks with more giftedness to help get out the Gospel – He was emphatically NOT following the principle of ‘putting your best IN THE BEST’ to let mentoring and discipleship filter DOWN – Scripture: Jesus was 100% human (though sinless), and He had a finite amount of time so He had to spend it wisely. So He strategically invested more in a smaller group of people who would pass on the Gospel, simply because that’s more time effective; there was no other, secret, ulterior motive for picking the three – Jesus did NOT pick a certain KIND of person to invest in – any cursory view of the Bible lets us know this – in fact, Jesus Himself called Peter ‘shaky’ (reed), but predicted that over time, after His death, Peter would eventually grow into a rock – and James and John were called the sons of thunder because of their rough attitudes (Jesus spent more time correcting these dudes than having secret meetings with them like they were some great fellas) -- also, both Acts and Corinthians tell us the early disciples were ‘unlearned and ignorant men’ (see me for the reference), and that most of them were NOT your traditional leadership types, your 8s and 9s – most were poor, uneducated, etc., and this actually made God shine rather than them (the old God using the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, remember that?)
2) Maxwell also said Jesus was always with those three and does not mix it up. What??? I’m gonna get like Jesus got with Nicodemus and ask, “You’re a leader (church and business), and you don’t know the Bible?” The Gospels are REPLETE with examples of Jesus ‘mixing it up’ – that’s one of the reasons He kept getting into trouble. Unlike rabbis of the day, Jesus spent time with women (even His own disciples had issue w. this, but were too scared to comment), with lepers (another no-no), with sinners (prostitutes, tax collectors, shall I go on?) – Jesus even took time for children in an adult-oriented culture, another taboo (remember His own disciples trying to turn children away?)
3) There is NO biblical idea (beyond the literal crop stuff) of like ‘attracting like’ and eights and nines not following twos and threes – of attracting who we are and not who we want. I’ve seen many Bible teachers on TV, usually of the prosperity movement ilk, posit this philosophy, which implies that ‘birds of a feather flock together’, so if you want to be successful you should only hang around those who are and to justify why as leaders they only invest or they primarily invest in other well-to-do ministers like themselves. What damnable heresy! Jesus was SINLESS, yet called FRIEND OF SINNERS. That’s opposites attracting, not like attracting like. And that’s what makes Jesus/God so different from us; we tend to segregate and only want to be around those like us – but the Bible tells us we’re supposed to tear down those superficial barriers (man-made social constructs would be the post-modern term). In Scripture we see Paul taking time or pouring effort into a wide range of folks: Onesimus the runaway slave and Philemon his master (both owed their salvation to Paul); Luke the physician and Timothy the young, shy pastor.
4) Um, I think Maxwell needs a strong dose of the Word of God. He should pay less attention to the Trump School of Leadership and more to the Jesus School of Leadership. Jesus told His disciples, when they were arguing over which one of them was the greatest (in order to figure out who was going to be Jesus’ successor): leaders of this world do business one way (pushing for status, lording it over folks, etc.), but I have called you to be different…

Arloa Sutter said...

Right on J! If Jesus picked eight or nines for leadership, I would certainly not be in the mix! Thanks for your thoughtful response!

Anonymous said...

One thing that John mentioned that I did see true and even the above poster seemed to agree is that Jesus did intentionally select a few to invest in. I would not be suprised if there were those around him saying that he was choosing favorites.
In my own life, I have attempted to be available, accessable, and willing to engage with all people, but also selective of those who are available, faithful, and teachable to make decisions on who I would spend the most time with and invest my life in. Some of these things you can not see easily and are really not based on talent or potential, but more on the desire of a persons heart. I have turned people down, and turned people away who I have invested much in because they were consistently unfaithful.
So I do agree with the idea of being available and accessible to all, but focusing your attention and time on a few. That is leadership development. That is discipleship as was modeled for us. By Jesus and Paul. Any thoughts on this in agreement or disagreement.

thaberean said...

I agree w. your points, KG, as you can tell by my post above yours. However, I do think there are times when God calls us to invest in folks and they're not necessarily the most faithful, available, or teachable. This goes against my personal bent on results and my own tendency to want to be assured of a particular outcome before I take a certain course of action. In the Paul-Barnabas saga over John Mark (who proved unfaithful), I would've been Paul, hands down. But Scripture, though it remains silent on who was right, shows us that John Mark later proved faithful. There are those times when, contrary to logic, we are called to have a Hosea type of relationship with folks. (Having a multiply-handicapped daughter, whom I have the pleasure of loving without much 'return', is showing me this principle.)

Check out my JUST A WORD blog on January 15, 2007 at thaberean.blogspot.com for more info on this subject. When you look at the disciples, it's kinda amazing how clueless and unpromising they were. Seems almost all they did right was keep following Jesus...