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The Whole Enchilada

enchilada.jpg Okay, the whole nine yards. Lock, stock and barrel. Hook, line and sinker. Kit and caboodle. The farm. Dan to Beersheba . Soup to nuts. The whole shootin’ match. It all means basically the same thing: Take everything there is to take, all inclusive.

Today, the name of the game is options, the more the better. From color to size, from plain to fancy, from cheap to pricey, from thin veneer to the real McCoy, you can have it your way. Now, you can happily and proudly select your long-distance carrier, your cellular phone merchant, your natural gas company and your power service. A dizzying array of merchandise overwhelms the shopper who simply wants to buy some coffee, tea or soda pop. You can pick and choose whatever you like and leave out whatever you don’t. The customer has always been king, but now he is the absolute sovereign.

Religious merchandising types are now imposing their system upon spiritual commodities. Church startups today base their strategy upon market sampling, demographics and customer profiling. The principle seems simple: find out what the people want and then give it to them. Be sensitive, play it loose, cut the pressure, and please the customer. After all, if they don’t like what we give them, they’re sure to be out the door to the next churchy entrepreneur. And we can’t have that, can we?

Just think, if this philosophy had dominated the times of the disciples, the outcome would have been radically different:

The disciples would have worked an eight hour day, three days a week.
Home on weekends, summers off, paid vacations and nine holidays.
Foot travel limited to marketplace shopping.
First class tickets to Jerusalem , king size beds in upscale motels.
Peaceful coexistence with Jewish leaders.
Diet expanded beyond loaves of bread and fish.
No crowd control responsibilities.
No foot washing.
Extra pay for hazardous work.
Parity in discipleship rankings.

What about the early church? Stephen would not have preached until he was stoned to death. Ananias would not have risked his life to witness to Saul of Tarsus. The Judiazers would have dominated the early church councils. James would have capitulated before he was decapitated. Peter would have plea bargained his way out of prison. No long missionary journeys, no Mars Hill, no beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, fastings nor any other inconveniences. It is clear to me that had these conditions been in force during the early church, no one would have done the necessary work to establish the greatest organization on earth.

All the sweet successes we revel in today were borne on the backs of extreme sacrifice and reckless abandon to mission. The pioneers did not equivocate or hedge their way to victory. They embraced—-even welcomed—-pain and deprivation. They searched for the way to get the job done, not the way out.

If our generation keeps inching away from total discipleship to a contemporarily designed, cost-efficient, culturally approved, nominal Christian relationship, we’re done. What ever it took to get us here, will be needed to keep us here! True saint of God, accept the challenge of total mission. Take it all: the good and bad, the pain and gain, the beautiful and ugly, the tough and tender. The whole enchilada.

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things… I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:7-12 (NIV)

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