Jesus and Smoke Breaks

Once upon a time I worked in construction.  The hours were long, and the work constant, but there was one joyful moment of pitiful inefficiency...the smoke break.  Even those of us who didn't smoke would take a step back to breath the toxins of our coworkers.  It never made much sense...we would just sit and talk for a couple minutes, then get back to work.  To the homeowner, the break no doubt left a terrible impression; they likely wondered why we didn't keep working, or why we bothered to take so short a break.  Inefficiency doesn't usually make much sense. 

In the same way, I can't help but think of how Inefficient our faith is at times.  For everything that it is, Christianity is certainly not very efficient.  We preach the gospel of a God who sent himself in the form of Jesus to live a pauper, die like a criminal, and somehow save everyone from their sin.  What's more, he decided to enact that plan not in the dot-com era, or the industrial revolution, but in an occupied territory during the Pax Romana.  To quote Jesus Christ Superstar, "Israel in 4BC had no mass-communication"! 

Why?  There must be some reason God acts within human history such as he does.  The answer is simple and mysterious at once...there is something worthwhile about inefficiency.  In the book of Genesis when God made mankind, he did not make them robots.  God knew from the beginning what man would do, and yet that was part of the plan.  There is a value...an indescribable beauty in redemption that could not be found in coercion.  The salvation of humanity would somehow be less if God had forced Adam and Eve in...well, anything. 

In the same way, salvation would not be personal, and it would certainly be less valuable to us if God spoke to us all through a "breaking news" segment of a miracle performed in the middle of Time's Square.  Sometimes, it is the relationship and not the results which are important.  In our modern-day lust for efficiency, we sometimes forget the peace, and the simple loving truth we experience when we know that God took the care to speak to us personally. 

"How precious did/that grace appear/the hour I first believed." 

Take the time to invest in your fellow man personally.  Whether it be helping the destitute monetarily, or offering a word of encouragement to a child...do not worry over immediate impacts, or the net gain of your action...sometimes serving God just doesn't seem very efficient at the time. That's okay though, if the Old Testament is anything to go on, smoke breaks are kinda his thing (Lev. 1 & 2).