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The Parable of the Corporation

Read Luke 16:1-12

The children of this world  deal with each other much more sensibly than the children of light."(Luke 16:8)

   Some time ago, an visionary young man took over as CEO of a small, struggling company. He immediately pursued an aggressive policy of expansion. Appointing his hand-picked associates as team leaders, he sent them out to different regions to do marketing and establish a corporate presence. Thanks to the superior quality of the company's products, the teams make rapid progress. Like branches of a huge tree, they soon established offices across the nation and even around the world. The original teams grew into huge sectors; which themselves later split into smaller divisions.

   This scheme worked astoundingly well for some time. However, difficulties eventually arose in the form of contention between divisions. The different divisions developed their own marketing strategies, their own packaging, their own accessories, their own local variants of the basic product. The local managers came to identify more strongly with their own divisions than with the company as a whole. They began to establish competing branch offices in the same city, the same neighborhood, even right next to each other. Mutual support was feeble at best. One office might be understaffed and overworked, while the office next door had the opposite problem. Often they duplicated each other's efforts, while essential tasks were left undone. They even went so far as to compete against each other, criticizing each other's products and undercutting each other's prices.

   The corporation was in serious trouble. Competing businesses made huge gains in market share, which provoked much wringing of hands and passionate discussions at the weekly branch office meetings. Divisional heads blamed each other, or the competition, or even the customers. They implemented new marketing strategies (separately, of course), but this only tended to add to the confusion at the neighborhood level. Through all this turmoil, the fundamental problem was either unrecognized, ignored, or deemed to be someone else's responsibility.

   The corporation I'm talking about still exists, at least for now. It is the Church, the Body of Christ incorporated. The `divisions' are sections within the body of Christ which are demarcated by differences in doctrine, denomination, race, and so on. The `branch offices' are individual churches. The `product' is Christ's love and His Gospel, which has many surface variations but a single, essential core.

   In most neighborhoods (or workplaces) Christians from different churches are uncoordinated and virtually oblivious to each other. Both invite other neighbors to their own church's meetings and events, to the neighbor's confusion. We Christians are such dunces that we consider this "normal", and continue on in disarray as if nothing were wrong. As our CEO Jesus said, "The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light" (Luke 16:8). We have grown so accustomed to our situation that, as Revelation 3:17 states, "You do not realize that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind , and naked."

   What then should we do? If we were dealing with a worldly corporation, the answer would be obvious. The local employees absolutely must begin to communicate, coordinate, and pool efforts and resources. They must meet together to promote mutual support, defuse conflicts, strategize, coordinate activities, share resources, and so on. Of course, these meetings should be conducted under the approval and direction of the CEO.

   The answer is no different for the Church. Neighboring Christians at home or at work MUST meet together, to share and pray in Jesus' name. ONLY in such manner may the Lord's deepest desire be fulfilled: "That they may be made perfect in one, that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me" (John 17:23). Through coming before the Lord and sharing together in the Word and prayer, neighborhood Christians should seek His direction on practical ways to encourage, reinforce, and complement each other in promoting the kingdom of God in that specific location.

   If Christians in the same neighborhood or workplace begin to meet together to pray and share, then we shall see a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 11:9 -- "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."

Prayer: Prayer: Father, please forgive us out sinful neglect and willful stupidity. Stir up our hearts, that we may reach out to pray and deeply share with our brothers and sisters who live or work with us. Strengthen us by your Spirit to overcome the shyness, ignorance, and inertia in our own hearts, which isolates us from each other. Reconcile Your children among themselves, that they may effectively work together to reconcile the world to You (2 Cor. 5:20). We ask in Jesus' name, that we might fulfill the prayer of His heart, and Yours.

©1998 CrossPollen. CrossPollen articles may be copied without permission from the author AS LONG AS (1) the article content is not changed (2) the original copyright notice is included. If you have been stimulated or challenged by these articles, please consider making a financial contribution to CrossPollen."Do not muzzle the ox who threshes the grain... If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?"(1 Corinthians 9:9-11) Please contact us via e-mail. Thank you!

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Copyright © 1998 CrossPollen
Last Revised: March 20, 1999

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