About 35 years ago I read a magazine article about a famous (notorious?) Canadian rock musician. Near the end of the article, this musician was quoted as saying, “I love the Lord; but I don’t have much use for his ground crew.”
That statement has stuck in my mind, perhaps because it seems that so many other people have come to the same conclusion. Perhaps it is no wonder. If we would look on the Christian scene with the eyes of the world, and consider all those who call themselves Christian as being part of God’s ground crew, then their activities look much like a Keystone Kops scene: earnest groups of people rushing madly to and fro about the Lord’s business, bumping into each other, tripping over each other, one group undoing the work of another, arguing passionately about what should, or should not, be done, accusing one another of villainy and letting the true villains pass unnoticed and unmolested.
As one views this frenzied, frenetic, comic scene it is easy to miss the fact that in the midst of all the confusion there are some who are quietly and purposefully going about the Lord’s business. These are the ones who are truly the Lord’s ground crew, following His directions and accomplishing His work.
This is not to say that the others are not accomplishing some good things, but in the public eye these things are so thoroughly overshadowed by the circus of conflicting claims, ideals and programs that the good seems to have happened more by accident than by design.
Jesus foresaw such a situation and warned that not all those who claimed to be part of His ground crew were truly working for Him. “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
Then, in describing the day of judgement, he left this stark warning: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).
Going back to the famous (notorious?) rock musician, I wish I could ask him if it is the Keystone Kops ground crew or the true followers of Jesus Christ that he has no use for. Now, this is a man who has cultivated a reputation as a lover of sex, booze and rock n’ roll. I’m not sure if this reputation totally corresponds to his real life, for one thing he is still happily married to his first wife. Yet he has deliberately cultivated this persona and that could go a long way in explaining why he would not feel comfortable around God’s ground crew.
However, if we are part of God’s ground crew, truly doing His will through the direction and power of His Spirit, then the love of God for all people will be evident in our lives and our relations with others. The following words of Jesus must be characteristic of God’s ground crew.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” (Matthew 5:44-46).