Missing the Point
I recently heard a story shared by Doug Peters (@DrDougPeters) of two steamboats that simultaneously set sail on the Mississippi, both bound for New Orleans. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for the two crews to begin jeering one another, ultimately resulting in the captains accepting the challenge to race one another to their destination. The larger boat had a distinct power advantage, which left the captain of the smaller vessel struggling to keep up. As they fell further and further behind, the crew suggested they begin burning excess supplies and cargo to close the gap. Choosing to heed ego over good judgment, the captain consented. Slowly they began to gain ground.
With New Orleans visible in the distance, the trailing captain demanded victory at all costs. No supplies or cargo were to be spared. Failure was not an option. As the last remnants of their inventory were thrown into the furnace, the small vessel edged out the larger for a seemingly impossible victory.
But had they won?
The ultimately meaningless victory came at the cost of the very purpose they set sail for New Orleans in the first place – their cargo. Left without cargo, money, or supplies for the return trip home, the captain and his crew gained a ‘victory’ but missed the point.
Over my years of ministry, I’ve witness a lot of Christians who ‘missing the point’. I can’t count the number of times that leaders and followers alike have chosen to pursue a lesser, often selfish agenda, at the cost of purpose. ‘Friendly fire’ taking down allies for some misunderstood ‘personal gain’.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the term ‘Christian’ has become so hollow.
This could easily represent a character issue that separates ‘Christians’ from ‘followers of Christ’. Surely there is a better way…
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Seems like I’ve read that somewhere before…