Chapel Hill Family,
In the film City Slickers, city slicker Mitch Robbins and his city-slicker friends are riding on horseback on a cattle drive alongside the rough and rugged Cowboy Curly. The cattle drive is part of a mid-life crisis Mitch has found himself in the midst of as he wonders what life holds next for him. The cattle drive follows a trip the trio of friends took to Pamplona, Spain for the running of the bulls. That search for adrenaline ended up being a real pain in the rump for Mitch as a bull’s horn found its way into his glutes.
Taking advantage of the calm moment on the cattle drive, Mitch asks Curly how he finds excitement and meaning in life. Curly holds up one finger and explains, “You need one thing.”
Mitch asks, “What is that thing?” to which Curly explains it is different for everyone. It represents what is most important for you. Until you know that, you will lack direction in your life and find yourself simply relenting to life’s boring ebbs and flows.
As baptized disciples of Jesus the Christ, we have answered this question about the one thing in our baptism and profession of faith. As our United Methodist understanding of the Christian faith and the scriptures attest, our mission is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Further, it is explained we fulfill this mission by:
“proclaiming the good news of God’s grace,”
“and by exemplifying Jesus’ command to love God and love neighbor,”
“thus, seeking the fulfillment of God’s reign and realm in our world…” which, “is the vision Scripture holds before us.”
As followers of Christ, our one thing, in many ways, is defined in a much less individualistic way. Ours is a collective vision of discipleship that continually forms us in Christian love as we love God and neighbor. On the other hand, it is important for us as local churches and individuals to determine, in a sense, what defines who we are as disciples with absolute clarity.
For an individual, this involves taking note of what your naturally born gifts and the gifts we are graced with by the Holy Spirit may be. This will point us to how we best contribute to the fulfillment of the rule and reign of God on earth, especially within and alongside our local church with whom we have entered into covenant. For local churches, they must have clarity about their vision about how the make disciples and transform. As pastor and consultant Will Mancini asks, “What is the one thing your local church does better than 10,000 others.”
Once we have that personal and collective clarity, it will free us to commit wholeheartedly to the thing that defines as we seek to be our mission “to
make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Grace and Peace,
Rev. J.D. Allen