Size Doesn’t Matter

Posted on October 25, 2011


I have been thinking a lot about the universe lately.

We live in a really big place. It is so big as to be infinite for all practical purposes. Scientists can talk about the edges of the universe, but for all it matters to me, everything goes on forever.

Similarly, we are each a universe unto ourselves. Cells move through our bodies like stars moving through space.

As people, we have a tendency to equate value with big. The bigger something is, the more important it is. Millions of people watch the Superbowl and it gains significance. A church grows in size and we believe something good is happening. Our paycheck gets bigger and we feel more important than other people in the office, more influential, more valuable.

But our understanding of size and value needs to change because size doesn’t matter, at least not to Christ. You and I would probably be willing to secure the eternal salvation of 99% of the world’s people, through all time, and in all places, regardless of their religion, sexual orientation, or personality, even if we knew that 1% of people would be condemned to an eternity without God. We would choose this because bigger is better and 99% is close to as big as you can get.

The problem is that Christ doesn’t think like this. Size doesn’t matter in the same way. to him.

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him.But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them this parable:“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his  shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

How do I live into this kind of love? How do I let go of the evaluative scheme that ranks me among my peers? I do I stop caring about numbers, size, money, or any other easily attributable significance. Is it even possible to let go of strategic evangelism, church planning, and all the other things required to sustain the 99%*. The following are only a few ideas.

1. Make a decision about a mundane thing as if it is the most important decision you’ll ever make. Get dressed with purpose. Cook with passion. Drive as if the road you take is your confession of belief. Eat as if everything is the body and the blood.

2. Side with the underdog, even if you know you’re wrong. This is why I don’t care what the Bible says about many controversial issues. I would rather side with one lonely soul, than abandon them for the security of the orthodox majority.

3. Feel the significance of wherever you are right now. Stop preparing for something. Stop wondering about the future. Stop trying to improve some aspect of your life. Let go of the assumption that life will get better. Let go of the worry that life will get worse. Breath deeply the now and feel your body and soul gel together in the present moment. Right now is just as important as any other moment.

*Sorry for the mixed metaphor with the current Occupy Wall Street 99%, which I support.

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