Think 'outside the box' like Jesus

Lay Servant Ministries


A number of years ago, we in the former Kansas East Conference were fortunate enough to have the Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver preach at our annual conference session. His topic was "Thinking Outside the Box.” I'll never forget how he ended his sermon.  He said “ … and our founder was so far outside the box that he wouldn't even stay in his own grave!"
In John Wesley's quadrilateral, he gave primacy to the scripture component. From what I read in the Gospels, Jesus didn't have any worries that the carpet in the sanctuary was old and worn.  He wasn't concerned about the repairs that the church bus needed. Paying the utilities weren't on his radar screen. Jesus didn't stay in "his own place" and wait for people to come to him; He went out to them (and there is a rumor that John Wesley did that, too).
Jesus was concerned about the people, those that were hurting, those that were poor or sick or disabled, those that had problems. He spent a great deal of his time helping those people.

I believe his "sermons" were short and to the point – not a one that's recorded in the Gospels would take more than about five minutes to deliver.  (He founded what I call the "Triple S School of Preaching”: have a point, Say it, Shut up and Sit down.)
His focus was on people and their relationship with God and with each other. He left us with a few, clear guidelines: 

  • Love God.
  • Love your neighbor.
  • Go and make disciples of all the world.
Yes, there are the practicalities of this world that we have to deal with.  The problem seems to be that we tend to focus too much on them, quite often when we should be paying attention elsewhere. Jesus focused on people. The challenge for us today, both as Lay Servants and as Christians, is to "think outside of the box" – the way that Jesus did. We must go where the people are, to help them deal with their troubles, to deal with them where they are, and not to insist that they do things our way. 

To love them, in other words. 
David Wasserfallen is Lay Servant Ministry director in the Five Rivers District.