The Business Model

Finally they said,  “Who are you?  Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us.  What do you say about yourself?”  John 1:22.

Categorization is one of the best means to profit for big business.  Those who would gain big time from a product have to know how to market it or they see no profit in it.  The leaders of the Jews in Jesus’ day were of the same mind in this regard.  They seemed more concerned about their image, wealth and influence than the purposes of God.  They even taught the people that if they were financially successful, it meant God’s favor for their life choices, etc.  The converse was also true for them, however, if a person was poor, destitute, or diseased, God must be punishing them for something.  So the Jews concerned themselves with externals rather than focusing on making the internal life clean and clear.

When we concern ourselves more with what other people think of us than what God does, then we tend to worry about the who’s who.  It’s good to consider the feelings of others, the culture we find ourselves in or the accountability of the body of Christ, for these are Scriptural, but worrying about the opinions of others to the exclusion of God is spiritually foolish.

Notice the messengers asked John what he could say about himself rather than what God said about him?  Jesus’ method of looking at the fruit is not simply a NT teaching but a principle throughout the whole of Scripture.    Proverbs is full of warnings about those who display a lack of judgment or build themselves up for the sake of public opinion without having the character to back up their claims.

John B replies without hesitation from Scripture that he’s the voice of the one who is to make the way  (take all the twists, turns, bumps and potholes) straight for Lord.  That’s all.  It’s prestigious enough, don’t you think, to be the one to announce the Messiah?  I like his stark honesty.

But his methodology doesn’t equal a good business model for securing his future ministry.  In fact, at the rate he was going it’s no wonder Herod chopped his head off.  John B. just couldn’t leave well enough alone, he had to open up his mouth and stick his foot in it by calling the leaders to spiritual and moral accountability.  Come on, John, that never goes over very well, you should know that!?!  Not once did he try to take over the government or start an insurrection against the current ruling party—Roman or otherwise.

Living the life Christ stands opposed to the way the world sees both success and the use of truth.  We see it as a means of inner change, which in view of God’s mercy is conformity to the mind of Christ.  This change becomes our wealth, those whom we influence, our crown and everything we do brings profit in spiritual gain.  Worldly wealth is incidental to the cause of Christ.

Think about this point for a minute.

If Jesus could bring enough food out of five loaves and two small fish to feed 5000 men + women + children, then why would we ever worry about food?  He promised our food, clothing and water would be sure, if we trust Him, then we’ll live and think in a way which reflects this as true. 

Look at the results of John B’s life.  No money, status in the world’s eyes or happy ending, according to the mentality of human fairy tales.  Instead the man lived a stark existence, preached to those who would rarely do anything but become religious about it sans a relationship with the Almighty and died alone in a dungeon betrayed by his own people.  Yet Jesus claimed no one was more honored in God’s eyes than John.

Where do we place our value?  In who’s hands do we entrust our lives?

It’s very easy to mouth the words and talk the talk, use the Christianese (that special language Evangelicals have for using Scripture in the everyday) and let ourselves be lulled into believing that’s enough.  Jesus called us to more than that—by a long shot.  We are to be doers of the Word not merely hearers. 

For an exercise in what it means to follow Jesus, read Hebrews 11:32-40.  The choice to belong to Jesus is costly by the world’s value system, but the dividends in peace and contentment grow exponentially.


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2 Responses to “The Business Model”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    John brought so much glory to the Lord in his acceptance of who he was in Him. I wondered if he ever struggled, as I do at times, between comfort and stability and losing it all to gain the bigger prize?

  2. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    I think we can conclude he did. None of the gospel writers sugar coat the disciples unbelief, lack of faith or thick-headedness. I also think (knowing my own human nature a bit) they gave many of their own exhortations so strongly because they needed to be reminded of it themselves as well.

    1 John shows his staunch moral side but he also speaks to the merciful God we serve who is willing to forgive our sins if we confess and repent.

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