As the 2016 race for the White House heats up it causes various reactions depending on your political leaning.
After debates pundits declare winners and losers. Candidates do their best to leave us with tweet-able (not a word yet) quotes and memorable sound bites.
As I’ve been watching one thing has been increasing clear to me.
Whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, a socialist or anarchist, a political junkie or someone who can’t define the terms I just used, we can all agree about this…
Jesus needed a political adviser.
He needed a campaign manager.
He needed to rally the base.
“rally the base” – to get enthusiastic support from the people who usually support your political party.
This is what the candidates are attempting to do now as they make appearances, go on talk shows and kiss babies.
Once the Democrats and Republicans have their respective candidates both will run to the middle to earn undecided and independent votes and punch their ticket to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Rallying the base. Jesus missed it completely.
He had a group desperately awaiting his arrival.
They’d staked their hopes, dreams and expectations upon him and how he’d reestablish them as a people.
And what does he do? How does he help their cause?
Well according to the Pharisees (Jewish Religious Leaders) he doesn’t at all.
Jesus confuses them.
He just makes them mad.
The Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?” (Luke 5.30)
No, he infuriates them to the point where they want him dead.
Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus. (Matthew 12.14)
Ultimately that’s what happens, but this could have all been prevented. He didn’t have to die. Jesus needed a better strategy.
It seems to me that Churches preoccupied with “rallying the base” will die too.
If a church is disproportionately inward focused it will implode.
The church is one of the few organizations that exist for people who are not yet a part of it.
Jesus didn’t spend enough time rallying the establishment and it cost him.
Conversely, churches that spend too much time feeding and entertaining themselves will grow fat and immobile and eventually die of obesity.
Jesus lived his life on mission. In his words, “to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19.10)
Jesus’ harshest statements were reserved for those who considered themselves to be the most righteous:
You’re hopeless, you religion scholars! You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help. (Luke 11.46)
Jesus saw people not as problems but as prized possessions. He considered all humanity as God’s children; some reconciled and some still estranged.
Jesus delights in people and refuses to exploit one group to show favor to another.
“I suppose Jesus walks into a room and loves what he finds there. Delights in it, in fact. Maybe, He makes a beeline to the outcasts and chooses, in them, to go where love has not yet arrived. His ways aren’t our ways but they sure could be.” Father Greg Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart
Our job isn’t to rally the base. Preach to the choir. Really convince the already convinced.
Our job is to love who’s in front of us.
To be a blessing and encouragement to any and everyone we encounter.
To be a tangible expression of God’s love for humanity.