Winter Coyotes

by | May 20, 2008 | Acceptance

The other evening, Kathy and I were driving home from visiting a friend just around dusk. In a big field we saw three coyotes. Actually Kathy saw all three; I only saw two of them. As we exited the freeway and stopped at the lights, I had a good view of the one coyote hunting mice. He was a fair distance away, but still plainly visible.

I watched him sniff the ground and listen. Then without warning he sprang up into the air, pulling all four paws together and landed, grabbing a mouse for his dinner. It is always an amazing sight to see when they do that. It takes no small amount of skill to find a mouse by listening and smelling through a couple of feet of snow then jump to just the right spot to catch it.

Coyotes have thrived and expanded their range greatly because they are adaptable creatures. They have learned to hunt in new ways. They have learned to hunt new prey. They have learned to live around people. They are willing to try new things. Whatever they try though, they never forget that their goal is to get dinner. The method is always secondary to the goal.

The church needs to learn from the coyote. We can “do church” in many different ways to reach different people, but we must never forget that our central goal is to bring them God’s inerrant truth and point them in the direction of a personal saving relationship with Jesus the Christ. In that case methodology becomes secondary.

Too often though, we choose for method over message. In our desire to be relevant we end up compromising the truth and defeating the purpose of the exercise. Even coyotes are smarter than that. They never forget that their goal is to eat.

The apostle Paul understood the need to bring God’s truth in a way that people could understand.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NIV Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

Paul was willing to adapt his methodology so that people could be changed but HE NEVER compromised the message.

As people who hold the truth, we have a moral and biblical mandate to share it with others by whatever means we can. That mandate means though that we must preach the truth boldly and without compromise no matter what tools we employ.

Can we change the music? Yes. Can we change the venue? Yes. Can we change the technology? Yes. Can we change the dress code? Yes. Can we change our traditions? Yes. Can we “package” or market the message in a different way? Yes.

Can we change the truth? Never.

Until next time, employ whatever honest and ethical methods work to draw people, but never compromise on the truth of the message that they need to hear.

Kevin Corbin gleanings@gleaningsfromtheword.com http://gleaningsfromtheword.com

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Winter Coyotes

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