If you could have a big tree with only a little fruit, or a small tree with lots of fruit, which would you choose? It’s about a choice, right?
But we’ll get back to that in a second.
I’ve noticed there seem to be two things I can do with Jesus. Either I can increasingly look like Jesus, or I can make him look like me.
I can look like Jesus, or I can try to make him look like me.
The funny thing about Jesus is that I’m never sure we give him quite enough credit. Sure. He came to earth, left the throne of heaven, took on the nature of a servant and died on the cross in our place, rose from the dead, and now sits at the right hand of the Father. Yes. All that happened.
But we really don’t give his three years of ministry much reference.
Here’s what I mean: We think Jesus was the Son of God, but when we read the Gospels, do you think he was the smartest person who ever lived? Most accomplished? Best fisherman? Best evangelist? Best church planter? Best movement leader? Best discipler? Most successful leader?
For instance, in Luke 9 and again in Luke 10, Jesus gave the most detailed strategy you will ever find in the Scriptures on how to evangelize, and then we see the exact same strategy used in the early church.
Shouldn’t we be using that same strategy?
I’m guessing we’re not arrogant enough to think we’ve come up with a better strategy than Jesus. (Example: For most churches, the evangelism strategy is, “Invite your friends to church and then let the professionals take over. We’ll do the heavy lifting if you get them here.” Not exactly Jesus’ strategy!)
We acknowledge what Jesus did on the cross, but what about what was started before the cross?
What about the movement he began that changed the course of human history when it was released and catalyzed after the Resurrection and Pentecost? If being a disciple is “who Jesus would be if he were me” (Dallas Willard), shouldn’t we be learning the patterns and practices of the best who ever lived if we too want to change the world for the Kingdom?
Yet, often, when we look at the Western church, I’m not sure we see many of the practices of Jesus in the way we lead. Although … that’s starting to change!
Back to the original question: Big tree/little fruit or little tree/lots of fruit?