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Embracing Inefficiency

I am always encouraged when sharing the blind, or the field, with other believers. It is truly a blessing to experience iron sharpening iron in the natural element. A recent discussion centered around a term that has probably been widely used and I cannot claim as my own, is “embrace inefficiency.” The mention of this catchy phrase has not only captured my mind, but is holding my every decision hostage. What is the cost of efficiency? Why do we check out at the grocery store and not even think twice of the old days when you had to, at the very least, answer, “how are you?” and, “did you see this week’s coupons?” Now we scan items on the grocery robot and make sure we don’t have lingering lunch in the face camera that supposedly reduces theft (I have my suspicions about the government using those cameras for conspiracy purposes but we will save that blog for later…). At what point in our lives does efficiency overrun all other intentions? 

For example, in-between the previous paragraph and this one, I texted my wife back. Why did I not call her and ask about her day? Well, a text is more efficient. Did I have time to make a call? Yes, but I am busy at work aiming to please the organization with my efficiency. What would the office think if I am just chatting with my wife on work time? In this seemingly silly example, the underlying truth of the matter is terrifying… I choose efficiency, even the superficial level of merely appearing efficient, over relationships with those around me. Shortened: I choose efficiency over my family. Shortened version of the shortened: Efficiency is my idolatry. 

Efficiency is my idolatry. 

In studying the life of Christ and on into the era of the early church, I have come to realize that efficiency was not the driving force behind Christianity. It would have been efficient for Jesus to only spend time at the temple, but he went to the well. Martha could have been at the feet of Jesus with her sister, but the dishes had to be cleaned. It would be more efficient for Paul to stop at letters rather than make the journeys. It would be more efficient to attend church once a month so that we can stay on top of the housework. We exchange the corporate worship experience for the online version so we can have coffee on the porch. Efficiency has become our metric of operation in life. The true driving force, or idea behind the life of a Christ follower is quite simple,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”

Matthew 22:37

My fear is that we will become so efficient that sin becomes acceptable if it makes life easier. Convenience and efficiency are often neighbors. As followers of Christ, we are not called to be efficient, we are not called to convenience, we are absolutely not called to live easy, we are called to, “…deny [ourselves] and take up [our] cross daily and follow [Jesus]” (Luke 9:23).