[Thought questions for Discipling the "ordinary" February 5, 2014]
1. The great equalizer. How hard should we work to bring the wealthy, the influential, the highly educated into our fellowship? If we are all equal in Christ, doesn’t that equality extend to powerful politicians and brilliant scientists? Or is it our mission to disregard the highly placed and focus on the lowly of spirit or, in our lesson’s terminology, the “ordinary”? Can we dare leave anyone out of the safety net from sin that we cast in the earth?
2. Humble from the start. What temple offerings did Jesus’ parents bring to the temple because of their poverty? Why was Jesus born in such humble surroundings? And, since he was of humble birth, why did the visitors from the east bring lavish gifts to Him? Did He have any use for the gold, silver, and other precious items? How might those gifts have blessed Jesus and His family later on? Should we bring our best to God’s house as offerings of love?
3. From common to extraordinary. Be honest. If by your words or wishes you could make plain water into a delicious drink, wouldn’t you gladly accept the compliments? Did the humble life that Jesus lived serve as a stumbling block to some who were expecting greater, more magnificent evidence of His divinity? Do you think Jesus ever thought about His heavenly home and longed to be there instead of down here among the sinners, the outcast, and the greedy? What kept Him here?
4. Peter the fisherman. How did Peter come to sense his great need for a Savior? What was the turning point in your life when you first realized that you couldn’t be satisfied without Jesus? Like Peter, do you make mistakes sometimes? What do you do after you are convinced that you were wrong, wrong, wrong? Do you think Peter ever forgave himself for denying Jesus at the crucifixion? How can we learn to put our sins behind us and accept Jesus’ redeeming power?
5. Evaluation. Have you heard someone express joy over the fact that certain wealthy or highly educated individuals have been attracted to the church? How can God see “infinite worth” in decrepit and sin-burdened people like you and me? Or can He? Has the statement that “Christ would have died for one” ever brought you special comfort and encouragement? Look around you. Would Christ have sacrificed His life for any of those people? Any at all?
6. Classless society. Would you like to live in a classless society? Why? Why is it impossible, or seems to be so, that anything even remotely resembling a classless society can exist? Why is God intent on removing all layers of class from us? Should we live in communes and share our wealth and our poverty equally among us? Didn’t the early Christians follow that policy?
7. Finish the work. Who is going to “finish” the work of telling the world the gospel story? How can it be that the elderly and the little children, the sick and the crippled, the poor and the uneducated will join hands to help all of us finish the work? Do you think it will be done by people alone? Or that angels and God Himself will play a visible role in bringing this world to a state of understanding about the great principles at stake?