I’ve learned the hard way never to do business with anyone who displays a “Christian” fish symbol on their business cards. I hate to say it, but every time I’ve broken this rule, I’ve regretted it. Now, I’m sure there are plenty of good, honest, honorable folks in the workaday world who have a fish on their cards, and please forgive me if you’re one of them. It’s just that sadly, all the ones I’ve personally ever had the misfortune of dealing with have, without exception, ended up being liars and cheats.
That’s no joke, and it’s painful. If the “living testimony” I’ve always got from our misguided brethren is even partly reflective of others’ experiences, it’s no wonder Christ is so mocked and marginalized in our society today.
I’ve often wondered why this is the case, and I think I’ve got it figured out. Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Julius Caesar used this strategy – “divide and conquer” – to subjugate territories. Division is a surefire recipe for defeat.
We generally take that to mean group division, and no doubt it applies there. But I believe there’s a different kind of division that is equally destructive to us, and that is internal division. When we divide our lives, we lose.
Nuclear physicists say there are two ways to get energy from atoms – by spitting them (fission) and by combining them (fusion). Of these – while we haven’t yet figured out how to harness it – they say fusion is superior as it produces significantly more energy without the harmful radioactive byproduct.
I believe the same is true in our lives. Fission today is the commonly practiced way of getting through life, as we seek to generate energy by splitting up our time and attention. We have our job. Our family. Our hobbies. Our “church.” And so on, with each of these being distinct and separate from the others.
Folks who perform multiple tasks are often said to wear many hats. When we fall into a “fission” lifestyle, we keep a closet full. We can put on our “church” hat on Sunday morning – and be “holy” and “righteous” like the rest of ‘em – and then hide it in the closet the rest of the week when we put on our other hats.
When we follow a career path under the fission model of life, we are deceived into seeking first the paycheck. Work is a chore, something we merely endure so we can bring home the bacon. We need motivational speakers, books and posters to keep any kind of fire in our eyes, and our bosses are always looking for new ways to “incentivize” our efforts. We look forward to retirement as a release from indentured servitude. Our deepest passions, our God-given gifts, are buried deep. Whatever “happiness” we find is when we put on our “hobby” hat and burn some of the discretionary dollars we generate under our “work” hat.
Often, the ethical standards we attach to our other hats are very different from those attached to our “church” hat. I know many folks who actively and piously participate in “church” – even many in leadership (and dare I say it, many who are in fact behind the pulpit) – who cuss and drink at the deer lease, look for every angle – ethical or not – to maximize their take in a business deal, and often neglect their family obligations. In fission-based thinking, this is all well and good. But the fact is that spiritually, they’ve been divided … and conquered.
In this way of living, we can treat Paul’s injunction to “be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves” as two mutually-exclusive paradigms to be alternately employed depending on which hat we’re wearing. With our “church” hat on, we act “innocent as doves,” and are quick to point accusatory fingers at those who don’t abide by every legalistic, religious rule. Yet when we’re at “work,” we’re “shrewd as snakes” … and anything goes.
From what I’ve seen, those who approach life this way are more tempted to sneak their “work” hat into “church” than the other way around. So they think it’s ok to use the church membership directory as a sales prospect list (while they’d never dream of approaching their company directory as an evangelism prospect list!). Thus the fish on the cards (to appeal to their “church”-based business prospects), and the way too many “Christians” seem to think its ok to take advantage of their customers.
Living victoriously requires that we repudiate the enemy’s attempts to divide and conquer our lives, reject the fission-based society in which we live, and embrace the superior energy potential of a fusion-based life. No, mankind hasn’t learned to harness the power of fusion; it’s possible only in Christ. I believe it is a key to the Kingdom.
When I am aligned with God’s master plan, there is just one hat I wear: The one He uniquely made for me. Church is not somewhere I go, it’s who I am, every minute of every day; I am a doer of the word, and not a hearer only. I pursue my Godly passions and seek to unleash my full giftedness, as the Lord directs me to find that exact spot in the Body which He designed me to occupy. My family is my ministry is my hobby is my job is my passion. I believe this is, in a very big way, what Christ meant when He told us to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness. When I do this, my paycheck is His responsibility, not mine! (And He never lets me down!)
I believe the way we live within our own body is invariably reflected in The Body. Our internal fission has led to external fission. We have sought too long to grow “Christianity” through division, as opposed to multiplication. And, like nuclear fission, the byproducts of this are toxic to those we are called to reach.
Success in the Kingdom is won from the inside-out, and from the bottom-up. When our hearts change, our bodies will follow, and then The Body. When we embrace a one-hat, fusion lifestyle, we find unprecedented levels of God’s power released in and through our lives and work. This will grow to transform and unify The Body. And this will change the world.
I look forward to the day when the world refuses to do business with anyone who does NOT have a Christian fish symbol on their business cards. It’s possible! When we all commit to wearing only the one hat God made for us, the power of His Spirit will flow through every aspect of our undivided lives – our job, our family, our hobbies, and our Church – and the desperate, hungry, hurting people of the world will beat a path to our door.
— You are the salt of the world. Stay salty, my friends!