Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Best is Yet to Come

This is a fable from the book that Ben gave me to read from chapter 11 of the book The Externally Focused Church. I think this is the direction Amadeo is heading.

There is a Taiwanese fable about a frog who lived in the bottom of a well. When the frog was thirsty, he drank a little bit of water from the well, and when he was hungry, he ate some insects that flew into the well. When he was tired, he lay on a little rock at the bottom of the well and looked up at the sky above him. To the little frog, the sky was a small circle of blue. He was very happy and satisfied, for this was the only world he had ever known.

One day a bird perched at the edge of the well. The little frog looked up and said, "Hello! Why don't you come down here and play with me? It's so pleasant down here. Look, I have cool water to drink and countless insects to eat. Come down!" But the bird responded with stories of an endless expanse of beautiful sky. The frog listened in disbelief then argued that the sky was small and round, for he had never been outside the well and seen the entire sky. The bird tried to coax the frog out of the well so he could see the sky, but the frog sat on his rock, convinced he was right. Eventually the bird flew away in frustration, and the frog was left aloned to continue pondering his little patch of sky.

This story has a good ending. Eventually a yellow sparrow swooped into the well, put the frog on its back, and flew out of the dank well into the sunlight. For the first time, the frog saw flowers, trees, animals, mountains, and rivers. Finally the bird placed him on a lotus leaf in a beautiful pond where the frog enjoyed his days---never again to return to the well.

To a frog at the bottom of a well, the sky may be only a small circle of blue. But to a bird, the sky is vast and wonderful. In some ways they are both right. This fable is about perspective. In a world filled with other frogs, occasionally we need to listen to the birds.

Once a church moves outside its four walls---its well---and begins to experience the big world of ministry, things will never be quite the same. The well will seem small and provincial, safe but boring. The world of externally focused ministry will seem dangerous but exciting. Each church will have to decide to opt for safety or danger, boredom or adventure.

I want danger and adventure. Amadeo will fly with the birds. Being moved by the love of God!


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