Thursday, February 11, 2010
The Big Red Tractor – My New Favorite Metaphor
Francis Chan has given me a new metaphor. My grandmother’s phrase for anything difficult was, “It was like pulling teeth…” In the past, I have used that phrase myself when I found it difficult to lead the congregation forward. “It’s like pulling teeth to get these people off dead center.” So often church leadership has felt like pulling and pushing an old ship trying to get it to move.
I relinquished the role of pushing and pulling when I realized no amount of human effort can result in the accomplishment of God’s mission. We do not make it happen. That is why the St. Exupery quote means so much to me: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
I found that after more than twenty-five years of ministry I had been drumming up the men, gathering the wood, dividing the work and giving the orders to orchestrate the accomplishment of God’s mission. Now I know that the only power for that mission comes from God. I can stop expending errant energy and instead rest in the Father’s power.
This background lets you know why Francis Chan’s metaphor via his cartoon “The Big Red Tractor” made such an impression on me when I saw it at Verge 2010. Watch it yourself and make your own decision to “find rest for your soul.” By the way, your kids and grandkids will love this one as well! Thanks Francis…again, you have stretched us with your creativity and passion.
*Photo provided by the VERGE 2010 Media Team