Be Reasonable?

Submitted by Ben Armacost on Thu, 7 Oct 2021 - 23:51

Growing up in a conservative farming environment, our family sought to carry out a sensible lifestyle with a focus on getting the work done. In every way possible, we kept things in balance to minimize the frequency of events that regularly threatened to upset the routine and harmony of life on the farm. Over time, this taught us not to complicate our daily patterns with extraneous ideas or methods, and never to take unnecessary risks.

This protective approach to life is not unique with farm families such as ours. Indeed, within the body of Christ around the world, we find these very patterns at work to ensure things do not get out of hand. While this lends to stability and a predictable way of life in the church, the work of the Kingdom does not advance under such a “keep-the-peace” environment.

Recently, I heard the quote, “Reasonableness is the death of reformation.” This profound statement stirs us to consider what it takes to bring about change and transformation among the nations. To be reasonable is to be safe, avoiding risks that could upset the balance of peace and predictability around us.

But Jesus Himself was anything but reasonable. He was the Prince of Peace, but not a peacemaker. Never once did He compromise with religious leaders. He was a revolutionary, an extremist—not of violence, but of radical love that challenged His followers to live boldly on the edge. In His three great commands to love God, love our neighbor, and make disciples, Jesus used the word “all” 7 times. We may strive to be balanced and sensible, but Christ urges us to give it our all, knowing that we will invariably upset the status quo as we usher in the lifestyle of the Kingdom.

If we truly live as Jesus lived, we will be met by leaders who try to convince us to take our foot off the accelerator and to be more sensible. They will beg us to soften the blow and take it slowly. But if men like Jan Hus, Martin Luther, or John Calvin were reasonable, there would be no reformation, but merely a fresh coat of paint on a dying faith.

Jesus calls us as we are, but never expects us to remain that way. We must not let our good be the enemy of His best. We must keep immersing ourselves more deeply into Him and His mission.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.   Hebrews 12.1-2a (NASB)