What not how

Reading the Bible can be frustrating.  I’m not talking about frustration because I don’t understand it.  I’m talking about frustrating because I DO understand it and so much is left out.  The Bible is filled with things I should and shouldn’t do.  But only occasionally does the Bible tell me “how-to” do or not do something.

Here’s an example of a how-to.  People who stole should get jobs and earn money and then give to others (Eph. 4:28) I know it’s not a clear 10 step program on overcoming theft but at least the text indicates that working hard and generous giving are on the positive side of stealing.  Having said that, in a world filled with self-helps and how-to’s, the New Testament is sadly lacking.

“Leaders focus on what not how.”

Jesus is no betterHe said things like, “You feed them,” without the slightest hint of how to get the job done. He said, “Go and make disciples,” but didn’t set up an outreach program or develop a 12 step discipleship system. So I’m asking myself why Jesus and the Bible are so lacking in the how-to business.

Here’s an idea.  Leaders focus on what not how.  Leaders show us WHAT should be done and what’s worth aiming at. They explain what really matters and paint a picture of a preferred future.  But, they don’t tell us how.  Managers and followers figure out how.  When I think about it, that’s the way I want it.  I don’t like someone telling me what to do and then proceeding to tell me how to do it.  It’s degrading.  If you’re going to tell me how to do everything, do it yourself.  You don’t need me.

“It’s eternally relevant because He didn’t explain how.”

Jesus explained the “what” of life when He said, “Love God and Love your neighbor.”  It’s a timeless, cross-cultural principle that applied then, applies now, and will apply in the future.  It’s eternally relevant because He didn’t explain how. It’s true He lived it.  And yes I know New Testament commands are expressions of those two life principles.  But drilling down into the commands still doesn’t yield an attainable, measurable, 10 step program on how to love my wife.

Being a Christ-follower can be frustrating because there are plenty of what’s and not enough how’s.  Here’s a news flash.  That’s how Jesus wants it.  Any other way destroys the eternal truths that direct and sustain life.  Any other way is measurable and attainable.  Any other way is too low, too easy, and too juvenile.

Grace Freak
Pastor Dan Rockwell

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