By the Rev. Dr. Max Jaouen
Lansdale United Methodist Church
A certain man was troubled with dizzy spells, redness in his face and bulging eyes. Every day when he went to his office, he experienced these things. Weekends were not so bad, so he concluded his work was causing his physical discomfort.
He went from one doctor to another, and none could tell him what the problem was. He consulted psychiatrists, psychologists and psychics. What was wrong? Why was he constantly suffering from dizzy spells, redness in his face and bulging eyes?
He tried everything, it seemed. Nothing helped. He finally resigned himself to the fact that whatever was causing all this was fatal. It bothered him so much he began to lose weight. He couldn’t sleep at night. He feared he would never overcome this. He became a nervous wreck and his health began to deteriorate. He had lost hope that he would ever recover.
He decided to prepare for the worst. He made out his will, bought a cemetery plot, instructed the preacher what he wanted at his funeral, and even made arrangements with the local undertaker. He was fully convinced of his soon demise. He even decided to buy a new suit of clothes to be buried in.
When he went into the clothing store he was measured for everything. He picked out shoes, socks, coat, and pants. The sales person asked, “What size shirt will you be needing, sir?” “Size 15, please,” he replied. The clerk said, “But, sir, I believe that is a bit small. Let me measure your neck size.” After the measurement, the sales person said, “I’m sorry sir, but your will need a 16 1/2, not a size 15.” But the man insisted, “No, I have worn a size 15 for years.”
The sales person tried several times to convince his customer that he needed a 16 1/2, but the man would have nothing of it. Finally, the exasperated sales person said, “Well, sir, if you insist, we’ll get out a size 15, but I must warn you, you will have dizzy spells, get red in the face, and your eyes will bulge out.”
Some people are so set in their ways, they will never admit the obvious. Some are so unwilling to change they appear to prefer to remain spiritually without comfort.
Long ago, a very wise man wrote: “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15).
Albert Einstein defined insanity as, “doing the same things, expecting different results.” Can you can decipher the meaning of this message from a poster on the wall of a church?
Did you figure it out? “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing you will keep getting what you’ve been getting,” every single time. This is the law of sowing and reaping set forth in the Bible: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7
Josh Hunt tells of a book called Do One Thing Different that echoed this theme. Do one thing different–anything. Maybe you won’t like those results either, but if you don’t like the results of what you are doing now, you might as well try something different.
Jesus talked about this in the parable of the wineskins. There is a primary application of this verse that is about the way Christianity would break out of the old traditions. But I think there is an ongoing application. It is the responsibility of every generation to reinvent the wineskins of the gospel. We must never tinker with the wine itself but the forms that hold the wine, they must be replaced continually.
People tend to go to the big successful churches and copy what they do. A better strategy is to copy the methodology by which effective churches got there: experimenting, trying, failing, learning, trying something else. Let us be open to new things.