The Stratgey of Jesus
Last Thursday evening we left Kigali, Rwanda and headed for Beirut, Lebanon (via Addis Ababa). We landed in Beirut at 2am, expecting an empty airport, but discovered that many flights depart and arrive in the Middle East in the middle of the night. The airport was bustling! Our flight and journey through customs were uneventful, but when we arrived at our hotel at 3am we discovered that it was the wrong hotel. The hotel where we were booked had over-booked itself, so hotel staff made an "executive decision" just to take us somewhere else. Later in the day we moved to the right hotel, so all ended up as planned, but it was rather disconcerting to be "surprised" at 3am in a foreign country.
Our time has been more packed than I had anticipated--with people, conversations, and growing relationships. It has been amazing and wonderful, but has left little time for reflecting and writing. We're now in Amman, Jordan. This morning I'll be speaking to a women's group, and I have just an hour to prepare my talk; once again, I have little time to write. So I'm just going to attach a passage written many years ago by Elton Trueblood, called "The Strategy of Jesus." It is the guiding vision behind a ministry to Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. It is a beautiful expression of our calling as followers of Jesus. The Strategy of Jesus "There is no person in history who has impacted all of mankind more than Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was deeply concerned for the continuation of his redemptive, reconciling work after the close of his earthly existence, and his chosen method was the formation of a small band of committed friends. He did not form an army, establish a headquarters, or even write a book. What he did was to collect a few very common men and women, inspire them with the sense of his spirit and vision, and build their lives into an intensive fellowship of affection, worship, and work. One of the truly shocking passages of the gospel is that in which Jesus indicates that there is absolutely no substitute for the tiny, loving, caring, reconciling society. If this fails, he suggests, all is failure; there is no other way. He told the little bedraggled fellowship that they were actually the salt of the earth and that if this salt should fail there would be no adequate preservative at all. He was staking all on one throw. What we need is not intellectual theorizing or even preaching, but a demonstration. One of the most powerful ways of turning people’s loyalty to Christ is by loving others with the great love of God. We cannot revive faith by argument, but we might catch the imagination of puzzled men and women by an exhibition of a fellowship so intensely alive that every thoughtful person would be forced to respect it. If there should emerge in our day such a fellowship, wholly without artificiality and free from the dead hand of the past, it would be an exciting event of momentous importance. A society of genuine loving souls, set free from the self-seeking struggle for personal prestige and from all unreality, would be something unutterably priceless and powerful. A wise person would travel any distance to join it."