“There is a right and a wrong in this universe. And that distinction is not hard to make,” said one of my heroes. Not sure that is 100% accurate, but I do think people make it harder than it has to be.
The difficulty lies in the fact that right is a spectrum of good, better, and best. The difference between what is good and what is best is a lot harder. As a church we want to do good, we want to be like Jesus, we want to help others. The question is how to do what is best.
Once upon a time I was a missionary in Kiev, Ukraine. I taught seminary and was associate pastor at the International Baptist Church. I was good at these things. I had the opportunity to stay. Is being a missionary a good thing to do, especially in a situation where you are mainly helping the local population do the work? Yes. Was it the best thing I could have done? No. That is why I came home.
As a church we face the choice between doing good and doing what is best. We have limited resources of money, time, and people. That is true of every church,of everybody. If we are going to be the best we can be we have to be thoughtful, prayerful, and deliberate about the choices we make to use those resources.
Do we give out food vouchers or do we direct people to dedicated service providers?
Who do we choose to focus on in our community?
Do we direct our efforts at outreach to the average person in our community or to the kinds of people we are already reaching?
As we consider the new budget year, do we continue to spend money in the same places in the same way or do we make changes?
Just because what we are doing is not wrong, that it is good, doesn’t mean we cannot do better. That we cannot choose the best over the good.
To do that I need all of you to pray. I need all of you to look at what we do and what we can do with serious and deliberate intent. “It sounds good” or “In the past we did this and it was good” are insufficient tests for what is best.
Judge between the goods, discover the best.