Young children all go through a stage of wonder in their life. Nothing is acceptable at face value. They want to know “why?” Why do I have to eat these things on my plate before I have cookies that taste much better? Why do I need to get a bath tonight when I just had one yesterday? Why does a bird fly away when I come close to it? Why?
At some point in life we allow ourselves to kick in to autopilot and we forget to ask ‘why.’ I’m observing an interesting thing happening in our culture that might simply be solved by asking ‘why’ more often. No one percieves it as a problem because the product is not ugly, mean or disruptive. Actually, the product is making the world a better place. Who would want to put an end to that?!
The problem is that we’ve placed so much emphasis on the fruit, we’ve inadvertantly neglected the root. Our churches are doing great things: feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, warming the cold, preserving the planet and other very worthwhile efforts. Our fruit is as good as its ever been. But more and more people are beginning to see that the church is not the only “do-good” organization in the world. We need to refocus on why we are producing this fruit. Why are we serving the less fortunate? Why are we visiting the sick? Why?
If we don’t tend to our root, the tree will soon topple over. Jesus Christ calls us to love one another in the same way that God first loved us. Is our service pointing others to the God that loves them or simply making us feel better for doing good things?