the tough get going!
who’s with me?? let’s go!
– brother bluto, animal house
their charter had been revoked.
they had been kicked off campus.
evil dean wormer had sentenced the delta tau chi fraternity to non-existence.
but then, a young, energetic, believing leader – the charismatic brother bluto – stood among his depressed fraternity brothers…
and dared them to move.
for some reason, this scene in the movie animal house reminds me of another scene from nearly 500 years ago (AD 1521), a more historic scene in which martin luther, the great german monk/protestant reformer, stood before an ecclesiastical (churchy) court, and was told to retract the statements he had made against the roman catholic church of his day. threatened with having his charter revoked as a monk and being kicked off the campus of the church – and maybe even the globe (read: killed), he uttered some equally famous words to those of brother bluto: here i stand. i can do no other. so help me God. in other words, i dare you to move me.
both bluto and luther understood something vital in their day: that they were part of something much greater than themselves. they were part of a movement, not just some mere institution. you might take away their fraternity charter, or their standing as a monk. you might strip away the bar from their frat house or the monk’s robes from their backs. you might even threaten them with their very lives. but they believed in their cause. and they were willing to go to any length, to challenge any foe, to see the cause and the work of their movement continue. they were willing at any cost to continue to move… and to continue their movement.
you and i are also a part of something much greater than ourselves. as followers of Jesus Christ, we are part of a movement. and currently our movement is being threatened. our movement is a movement of sacrifice and selflessness. a movement of thinking of others before ourselves. a movement of caring and of changing lives. a movement of doing whatever it takes to see people lovingly brought into a saving relationship with Jesus AND of seeing non-healthy people, families, and relationships made more healthy and whole.
the current financial crisis that is impacting our country is impacting us. it threatens us as a movement. it threatens us because it tempts us to forget about others and look out only for ourselves. it threatens us because it can cause us to worry about things instead of lifting them up to God in prayer. this crisis is very real. it does impact many of us financially – there’s no sugar-coating it. but it also gives us an enormous opportunity to remind ourselves how Christ-followers over two millenia have confronted crises and survived. thrived. continued to make an impact.
the black plague.
financial and empirical collapses.
bondage and slavery.
threats of death.
Jesus never promised that following him would be easy. but he did show us that following him would impact people and change lives. and for 2000 years, people have done so – in the face of crises far more dire than the one you and i face right now. in the face of an oppressive roman occupation and a legalistic and warped religious system, Jesus came to ordinary, everyday people and dared them to move. if you have received Christ as savior and if you follow him today, you can thank those followers who took up that dare… and every one who has done so since.
now it’s our turn. it’s a pivotal time in our country’s history. people are uncertain and scared. i believe our community needs our movement – THRESHOLD – now more than ever. your neighbors, co-workers and fellow students need you. they need to experience the caring and love of Jesus in and through you. they need some reassurance that God does love them and that he will be there for them in the midst of whatever is coming.
this is no time to get selfish. it’s not a time to sit around with our head in our hands and say woe is me. it’s a time for action.
INVEST and INVITE: be smart with your money. curb your excess spending. and continue to give what is right in order that together, our movement can move forward as a force for good in our community and around the world. invite those you know who do not have a living relationship with Christ in the context of a local church. show them and tell them how this relationship is real in your life. how you have grown. how you now have faith that is pulling you through these uncertain days. and please understand this: you are not inviting them to fill a seat in church. you are inviting them to experience the life-altering power of God in their lives! there is a big difference.
this crisis is a very real threat. a threat to each family. and a threat both to THRESHOLD and to the wider church.
but i am not worried. this is not the first time God’s church has been faced with a crisis. it won’t be the last. and God himself will be in the very midst of it, calling us forward, daring us to move.
when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
who’s with me?