MT 24:35, MK 13:31, LK 21:33 – “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
I ask myself a lot of times, “Why are we so protective of the way we do things?” Sometimes I get the thinking that, we are more method oriented then message oriented. Shouldn’t we change the method if we’re not getting the message through? I don’t think we should be afraid of attempting new strategies if the current is not working anyway.
In one perspective, I believe the Bible passage on top can be interpreted as, “It’s ok to change the program, as long as you do not dilute my message in any way.” I once came across a quote, “The method may change, but the message remains the same.” I don’t have any idea who quoted this, however it spoke a million words to me.
We all know that Jesus came to save the lost. Now let’s take a look at our churches and see if drug addicts and prostitutes are filling up the seats/pews. In most churches, it’s usually the same God fearing people who worship. I believe every church has done something or the other to bring these brothers and sisters to Christ and have succeeded in many ways. Praise God for out-reaching churches, however, there are too many of these newly born again Christians who turn back to their old ways because they cannot digest the way the spiritual food is served to them.
When such things happen, the church is found saying, “Maybe it’s not the acceptable year of the Lord for them yet.” Some are even declared, “Unripe for the Gospel.” Is it them or our way of delivering the message? Time goes by and they die of suicide and over-dose. Why do we portray ourselves as, “Blameless?” We were, we are and we will always be as believers commissioned to make disciples as is written in Mathew 28:19. If so, why is it always their fault? Isn’t it time we take the blame and change the method?
The parable of the Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9. The farmer who came along and saw a beautiful fig tree took a deeper look. It had grown well, but there were no figs! Much of our work, not just in church but in our mission field works (for missionaries), has somehow reached a high status, but there are no disciples. The farmer in this parable ordered to cut down the tree because it bore no figs even after a reasonable time had elapsed and much work had been done.
It will hurt to change our programs, especially for all the money and effort spent and hoping against hope that very soon it will bear fruit. But too often, ‘very soon’ has stretched to lifetimes costing souls meant for heaven to hell.
Think on this, the tree that bore no fruit was cut down, what about a church bearing no disciples? (I don’t think you need to ask God for an answer! He’s already given you the biggest brain of all living things proportionate to your size.)
About the story: There were two schools, namely Memorize System School and Understand System School. Both produced good results in board examinations but Memorize System School usually does better. On one occasion, one student from each school appeared in a Competitive Exam. Both students passed the written test and then at the interview they were both given a story to elaborate. The student from Memorize System School was dumbfounded while the other one from Understand System School had no difficulty at all.
Characters: 1 narrator:–
2 teachers for :– Memorize System School:– Understand System School:–
5 students each for two schools:– 2 interviewers (boy and girl):– Prop: 1. Sign boards for Memorize System School and Understand System School 2. Notice board – with a tag “Written Test Results” 3. 5 chairs and desks for students with books and pens 4. Stick and book for teachers with a chair and table 5. Table and two chairs for interviewers 6. Note book, pen and paper for interviewers (class-room will be the same, school sign boards will make the difference)
Scene 1: Memorize System School Narrator: There once was a school called, Memorize System School. Students are seated in the class chatting; 1st student to classmates – Did you all memorize the home work? 2nd student – Yes, I memorized them all in 20 mins (proudly) 3rd student – That’s nothing, I needed only 15 mins (boastfully) 4th student – (came running in) Our teacher is coming. Students became silent. All students – (stand up) Good morning sir. (As the teacher walks in) Teacher – Morning. Who did not memorize their home work? (After a pause) Good, now take out you bazaar notes (ready made notes) and memorize lesson 22. If you don’t memorize it, my stick will speak to you. All students – yes sir. 5th student – It’s too much sir. Teacher – Don’t argue, if you memorize all your notes you will never fail. All students – Yes sir (they take out their books and started reading loudly) Teacher takes out mobile phone, calls someone and then … Bell rings Teacher – on the phone - gimme a minute. (looks at the students) I will give you test on lesson 20 to 22 tomorrow and you have to answer exactly like your notes or my stick will talk again. Class dismissed.
Scene 2: Understand System School Narrator: There was another school called, Understand System School. Students are seated in the class and chatting; 1st student – Were you able to understand the home work from yesterday’s lesson? 2nd student – Ahh… I read through it and made a note but I’ll show it to Miss Grace to have a look. 3rd student – As for me, I just don’t understand anything. 4th student – That’s why it is important to pay close attention to the lectures. Teacher – (as she walks in) Good day children! All Students – Morning Miss Teacher – Did you have any problem with your home assignment? 3rd student – Some of us do need a bit more help. May you please explain it again miss? Teacher – Certainly, I would be glad to do that. If you have any trouble at all in understanding your lessons, please feel free to ask questions. Okay? 5th student – Miss, why don’t you just give us notes to memorize? Teacher – Because if I do, you will not be able to really understand your lessons. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, I’m here to correct you, okay? Moreover, memorizing system will not help you much in your future. Let’s get back to the lesson. You were to explain the meaning of … All students – I build my foundation on the rocks that people throw at me. Teacher – Good. Well, it means, not to be discouraged or give up because of criticisms but to use criticisms to polish our character. Is it clear? All students – Yes miss Teacher – Now it’s your turn to make the notes and remember to use your own words. Dismissal bell rings.
Narrator: Both the school produced good results in the board examination. The Memorize System School did exceptional well. After 10 years, one student from each school appeared in a Competitive Exam.
Scene 3: The two students were checking out a notice board which read, ‘Written Test Results’ MSS student – I’m in the top ten list. Did you get through? USS Student – Yes, but not as good as you did. Congrats. Announcement from the office – All candidates who passed the aptitude tests are to be interviewed at 11 AM tomorrow.
Narrator: The next day at the interview.
Scene 4: Two interviewers are seated at a table, MSS student walks in. Lady Interviewer – Good morning, how are we doing? MSS student – (very nervously) I’m fine, thank you. Lady Interviewer – Please take a seat. MSS student continues to act nervously and uncomfortable and sat down. Male Interviewer – Relax (MSS looks even more confused with eyes wide open and a gasp) Male Interviewer – I need you to read this passage and elaborate it for us. (handing paper to MSS student) MSS student – (Taking a paper from interviewer, reading and looking rather disturbed scratching his head making his hair untidy) Male Interviewer – Are you done reading? No answer from MSS student. Male Interviewer – Are you done reading? Still no answer. The 2 interviewers smiled at each other making sarcastic looks. Male Interviewer – Alright (taking the paper from MSS student, continues to speak) please explain the meaning of the passage. MSS student – Umm… I think… ahh… it means… umm… we should be … ahh … good… It’s very hard to explain sir. Please give me some more time. Male Interviewer – That will not be possible but thanks for coming and all the best for your future. MSS Student – Walks out sadly.
Scene 5: Two interviewers are seated at a table, USS student walks in. Lady Interviewer – Good morning, how do you do? USS student – Good morning. I’m fine, thank you. Lady Interviewer – Please take a seat. USS student – Thank you. (looking comfortable) Male Interviewer – I need you to read this passage and elaborate it for us. (handing paper to MSS student) USS student – (Takes the paper) Thank you Male Interviewer – (after a brief pause) Can I have the paper back? USS student – Certainly sir, here (handing interviewer the paper) That’s a very meaningful passage. Lady Interviewer – I think so too. Male Interviewer – (nodding his head) Right, please elaborate. USS student – I believe that the phrase, “A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one” is trying to tell us to be careful with the words we use because words are powerful and can hurt people just as bad as inflicting pain to the physical body. To be gentle with words as gentle as we are to our bodies. Male Interviewer – Very good, this shows that you are very bright with a good presence of mind, just the kind of person we’ve been looking for. Lady Interviewer – Welcome aboard. USS student – Thank you both so much. (All shaking hands, compliments etc)
Narrator: Memorizing your lessons will get you through exams and understanding will get you through life. This is what the selected student had to say:
"It might be harder but its better. Remember what Miss Grace said, “Memorizing system will not help you much in your future."
Last Scene: All participants gather on the stage: To memorize is not the way, do it right and understand. Don’t just do it, do it right.