Staircases are meant to connect us from one level to another. They offer access to new places and people. Almost every staircase I’ve ever seen made perfect sense to me. Except this one.
It is an ornate cement staircase leading to a lovely old church, but that’s not what bothers me. It is the fact that its first step is on the side of the highway!
I’ve traveled by this staircase at least a hundred times over 10 years and never once have I seen a car parked let alone a soul walking up those stairs. Yet drive 500 yards down the road and you come to an off-ramp that used all the time.
What’s the point? Are you spending all of your time, effort and treasure building a staircase for God while right down the road the world has built an off ramp?
More importantly are you helping people take the right exit? I’ve rarely met a Christian who is genuinely disinterested in helping lost people find a relationship with God. Yet I regularly meet Christians who are busy building staircases on the side of the highway. They are frustrated that the church is not singing enough hymns…or rock songs. They’re adamantly defending one translation of scripture over another. They are genuinely mad that not enough emphasis is being put on teaching the book of Revelation. But the truth is these issues have become their little carpentry projects.
Sometimes we can fall victim to believing that the issues we are close to are the very thing that will reach masses of lost people when in reality they’re not. The issues are important, but they are not really relevant to lost people. When we start believing these issues to be more life and death than they really are they can turn into our own personal crusade. Given enough time they become yet another unused staircase littering the side of the highway.
Instead of building these staircases, let’s be careful to be about truly reaching out. Are you on the side of the highway looking for those who have broken down? Are you combing the off ramps for the spiritually disoriented? This is Jesus heart for the world. As I close today I want Jesus to speak to our hearts. Listen to his words from Matthew 23: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.”
What are some effective ways God has given you to reach lost people in your setting?
Why are we so attached to our staircases?
Has anyone ever seen the staircase I’m talking about? What state is it in?