When a young girl arrived home from school and told her Mom that she was the smartest student in the class that day, her mom asked how that happened. "We wrote on the blackboard," the girl said proudly, "and I was the only one in the class that could read my writing." It is natural to look at life from our point-of-view. A chicken and elephant were locked in a cage together, and the chicken told the elephant that they needed a few rules. The first was that they not step on each other. We, like the chicken, look at rules and decisions in a way that will best benefit us.
A teenager being interviewed for a job at a movie theatre was asked what he would do if there was a fire at the theatre. The boy said not to worry; he would get out alright. That is not what the boss had in mind. The boss was thinking that he needed someone to care for others. This is what God expected when He established the church. Many of our churches have adopted the chicken point-of-view. It is usually not a doctrinal problem — we don't know enough theology to argue about that — it is a people problem.
Some want it this way, others want it another way, and still others want it another way. How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one because all he has to do is hold the bulb as the world revolves around him. We spend our lives looking for ways to disagree.
Our nature is to put others down to build ourselves up. An egotist is a man that spends so much time talking about himself that you have no time to talk about yourself. I will never forget a man I had in marriage counseling. I told him that he and his wife needed to be of one mind. He wanted to know which mind? Mine or hers? That is our problem. Which mind? Theirs or mine? That's the chicken point of view. The Bible says "Let this mind be in you which is in Christ Jesus." That "mind" was able to forget about Himself so that we still remember two thousand years later.
I don't know anything about pianos but I am told that two pianos should not be tuned to each other. Instead, we tune each piano to the tuning fork. The pianos then would be tuned the same because they were tuned to the same tuning fork. You and I will never agree on all things, but if we can find the one purpose that we agree upon, we will not be in cross purposes. That's our job as churches and as a denomination. We should be in tune with the Mind of Christ. We can't be frozen together in formalism, rusted together by ritualism, or even chained together by conservatism. We have to be melted together by the love of Christ.
A couple adopting a child from an orphanage was drawn to one little boy and told him of all the things that they would give him — clothes, toys, and a nice new house. Nothing seemed to appeal to him, and they finally him asked what he really wanted. He replied that he just wanted someone to love him. That's what our world wants and needs.
My prayer for our Convention is that we have the courage and confidence to love God's way even if it calls for limiting or restricting our own plans. His kind of love doesn't do whatever it wants, when it wants. His love is lived in connection with the wisdom of Scripture. His love is based on devotion that has the power to overrule the emotion of my chicken point-of-view. His is the love of faith, not fear, believing God's timetable is perfect. This love does not demand my way but seeks God's way. This love allows me to stretch my love muscles and move beyond my selfish emotion and truly love God's way.
A pastor asked a children's Bible study class why they loved God. One little boy responded that he guessed it just runs in the family. May it continue to do so for Southern Baptists as we speak of our future. May His love allow us to be tactful as well as truthful. When the chicken in me wants to shoot for control, may God give me the courage to aim for love.
A physician once concluded that after many years of practice, the best medicine he could prescribe is love. When asked what should be done if that didn't work, he replied that we should double the dose. The Great Physician tells us that the prescription for a lost world is love, and it may be time to double the dose.
Charles Lowery is a member of First Baptist Church, Bossier City, Louisiana, founder and president of Lowery Institute for Excellence, and is in a fulltime speaking ministry. You may contact Lowery Institute at 800-723-9025 or www.CharlesLowery.com.