As we introduced VISION MONTH here at Gaylord E-Free last Sunday, I gave a formula that comes from the book "Becoming a Contagious Christian." The formula is HP + CP + CC = MI! It stands for High Potency + Close Proximity + Clear Communication = Maximum Impact. In other words, to have a maximum impact in reaching people for Jesus we need to be "Highly Potent" Christians who come in "Close Proximity" with those who need Jesus and then "Clearly Communicate" to them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Later Sunday afternoon someone from the church messaged me and told me that she and her husband would like to add an element to the formula. Their formula is HP + CP + CC = MI + GP! GP stands for "Great Pain." She went on to share with me the great pain they have endured as God has given them opportunity to minister in the lives of hurting people. How true that is! You really can't love people and invest in their lives in a "real" way without experiencing some level of pain.
It reminds me of the conversation the new toy rabbit had with the old skin horse in the classic kid's tale, "The Velveteen Rabbit."
"What is real?" the rabbit asked the old skin horse..."Does it mean having things that buzz inside of you and a stick out handle?"
"Real isn't how you're made," said the skin horse. "It's a thing that happens to you when someone loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the skin horse.
"Does it happen all at once," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the skin horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have rough edges, or have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
I love that story! I love the "realness" of it. You see, when you make lost people a priority; when you truly live a highly potent Christian live and are willing to come in close proximity to those who are hurting and devastated by sin so that you can clearly communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, chances are really good that you will experience great pain and there will be some, even in the church, who won't be able to understand why you do it.
But never forget this one thing...it's worth it! People are worth it! The Gospel is worth it!
HP + CP + CC = MI + GP