What if I told you I could give you a flat washboard stomach in three easy steps? You would probably look at me and realize that it is not that simple. You know the effort that goes into getting washboard abs, the pain that it takes to do thousands of sit-ups, and the frustration of not eating ice cream after dinner. It is not easy, it actually is the farthest thing from easy. The idea that you could look better after completing three easy steps makes it appealing, but does not necessarily make it true.
In some senses, it also devalues the message. Instead of putting a price on something, we tend to under value it to make it look easy, to make it seem that the risk is worth the reward. On the radio the other day I heard an advertisement for a pill that would allow you to eat whatever you want and still lose weight. I could not stop laughing, mainly because of the absurdity to this idea but also because people are willing to try this. In my mind, it was a complete joke, because I knew that it was not that simple. I think we like to do the same thing with the Gospel message. Bottle it up in a quick and easy 3 step process that will get your attention and make everything better. The absurdity comes when the message does not deliver what we thought it would.
Look around any church today. The one thing you will find in most churches is a cross. The symbol that unites all Christians together under the umbrella of grace. This symbol has come to mean something more of a charm then a message for the crazy. Think about it, if we truly looked at the cross and did not think the message was absurd I would be concerned. The idea that someone would die on that thing is crazy, but then that it would bring grace to you and me takes it over the top. Instead, we want to take that message and turn it into an idea that makes sense, something that is practical and understandable. Something that we can market, share with our friends, and hope that they join the crowd.
Instead of trying to make sure that you are not crazy you might want to make sure that the message you are preaching is crazy. Instead of trying to fit in, trying to look normal, we should consider looking crazy. The fact that someone who is a sinner can still be used by God should be the craziest thing anyone has ever seen. Maybe the way we should make sure we are not crazy is by not looking at others but instead focusing on the message of the cross and redemption.
1 Corinthians 1:18
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.