I've been reading Jim Collins' latest business offering, How The Mighty Fall.
Collins identifies five stages of decline that characterize companies that were once great, but are now defunct. It is very insightful reading. Interestingly, the first stage is also first on the list of things God hates: hubris! Proverbs 6:16-17 spells out God's disdain for pride. Jim Collins identifies "Hubris born of success" as Stage 1 in a company's decline. "Hubris is defined as excessive pride that brings down a hero, or alternatively ... outrageous arrogance that inflicts suffering upon the innocent" (Collins, How The Mighty Fall, 29). He notes multiple forms of hubris that occur in the stages of decline, but this line caught my attention:
"And we will encounter one of the most insidious forms of hubris: arrogant neglect" (How The Mighty Fall, 30)
Reading the words, "arrogant neglect" makes me think of Jesus, my predecessor and mentor David Nicholas, and Spanish River Church. First, I think of Jesus' words, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). This is called "the great commission" for a reason.
Don't neglect sharing the gospel.
Second, I think of the words of David Nicholas, the founding pastor of SRC and my mentor: "The power is in the gospel." David continually reminds me of Paul's words to the church at Rome, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
The power to transform lives is not in clever sermons, carefully crafted words, or persuasive conversations--the power is in the gospel.
Third, I think of our responsibility as Spanish River Church. God calls us to build relational bridges to Jesus where we live, work and play. I must remember that the gospel travels over relational bridges.
I build a relational bridge to Jesus when I take time to get to know a neighbor, or strengthen a friendship at work, or slow down to help someone simply because it is the right thing to do. Building relational bridges to Jesus is not making people evangelistic projects. Building a relational bridge is befriending, loving, and caring for people just like Jesus did. An invitation to church, a spiritual conversation over a Christian tract or book, a personal testimony, or a "gospel presentation" just seem to travel a little better over a relational bridge.
Jim Collins reminds me that arrogant neglect occurs anytime a company ignores its primary focus. Jesus clarifies my primary focus: the great commandment (Matthew 22:34-37) and the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Share the gospel; that is where the power lies. And remember that the gospel travels over relational bridges. Arrogant neglect is one of the most insidious forms of hubris. Lord, help us remember and live out our commission!