I’m reading a book by Alan Hirsch, an Australian, entitled “The Forgotten Ways.” It’s a book looking at the first and second century church. The church in this period grew at a rapid rate even in the face of tremendous persecution. The early church so influenced their culture that a Roman historian wrote “who are these people (speaking of the early church) who have turned the world upside down?” Before the advent of the moveable press, radio and the internet, they “turned their world upside down.”
In his book, Hirsch speaks of an obscure law entitled the Law of Requisite Variety. “This law states that ‘the survival of any organism depends on its capacity to cultivate (not just tolerate) variety in its internal structure. Failure to do so results in an inability to cope successfully with ‘variety’ when it is introduced from an external source.’ The authors give us a great example as to how this law works in reality. They note that
Fish in a bowl can swim, breed, get food with minimal effort, and remain safe from predators. But as aquarium owners know, such fish are excruciatingly sensitive to even the slightest disturbances in the fishbowl. On the other hand, fish in the sea have to work much harder to sustain themselves and they are subjected to many threats. But because they cope with more variation, they are more robust when faced with a challenge.”
In my opinion, the American church is a comfortable fishbowl and the Lord is tapping on the outside of the bowl to get our attention. We are swimming around inside the fish bowl, banging into one another and becoming more and more irritable with each other. The Lord is moving but He is not moving inside the church (AKA the fishbowl). Revival is taking place in other parts of the world. One place it is not happening is the North American Church.
When Jesus left, He told us to “Go and make.” We have sat on our butts and said “come”. To "go and make" takes courage and hard work. We would rather stay in the fishbowl and “be safe”; be predictable. We may be safe and we may be predictable but as Jeremiah said Jeremiah 8:20 "The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved." We may look good but we are lost. We must leave the fishbowl and move to the ocean and be led by Christ to grab hold of life which is truly life. Which kind of fish are you, an ocean fish or a fishbowl fish?
Lord, give us the courage to obey. Give us the courage to "go and make." Take us to the back roads, to the alleys, the gutters, to the cornfields, the bars, and the schools and offices. And you Lord alone will call them unto you. May we be your humble and willing, obedient servants. Come Lord Jesus. Amen