““Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.” John 1:46
When does clever become “too clever by half”?
She/you/he is really clever … He/you/she is too clever by half!
When does the gift of “clever” become the liability of “too clever”?
And how many who name themselves followers, Christians, believers, saved, born again grow from “clever” to “too clever by half”?
The “I know a lot more than I did then (and you do now)” … “I have been around the block a couple of times (more than you have)” … “When you have walked with the Lord for as long as I have (which you most definitely haven’t)” … “When you get to know how we do things around here (which you so obviously don’t!)” …
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”
How often do we still say that today?
“We tried that and it didn’t work” … “I don’t think anyone will volunteer for that” … “Leave it with me and I will have a chat with the committee” … “I think the Lord is saying wait/not now/not this/not you (because we tried that and it didn’t work)” … “I can’t see how this would work” … “We really need to see if this will be fully funded” … “We will never get funding for that” … And the trump “too clever by half” card: “Let’s pray about this.”
I think being saved can be a terrible burden.
When we are first saved we look back at those still drowning … When we are first saved we want to save everyone … and then we are taken on a tour of “the big boat “. And we admire its furnishings – its size – how all “the crew” are so friendly – our awe at the command structure – the leadership – the hierarchy – the committees and the minutes – the rotas and the routine – the weekly Sunday “performance”. And then the church calendar kicks in – the busyness and the lulls – the when we can do stuff and when we (mostly) can’t do new stuff …
And pretty soon all those “drowning folk” we wanted to bring with us are “out there” while we are “in here”. All too soon they become the unchurched and we the churched. All too soon we don’t see the cracks … the bits held together by “tradition” … the cliques and clans … the ins and outs … the networkers to nurture and the odd ones to avoid.
Pretty soon what goes on in the boat takes all our time and energy and diaries –
The crew and our place in it … who/where the internal mutinies are brewing … balancing the books … asking enough but not too much … changing stuff but not too much … keeping stuff the same (and saying we are not) ..
All of that “in stuff” fills our diaries. And then there is no room for “out there”. They have to “come here”. And we wonder why they don’t.
I think being saved can be a terrible burden – and I think all the busyness of being post-saved keeps many from realising.
I think clever and “too clever by half” could be reworked like this:
When does saved become “too saved by half”?
What do you think?