“We completely lost sight and touch of what really matters here.” Joshua Dial, Campaign Manager for Joe Exotic in the final episode of Tiger King
I succumbed to watching this Netflix show over the weekend and I truly have no words for what I watched except – in a nutshell – people who love exotic animals became enemies when they lost sight and touch of what really mattered – namely the animals. Their once noble ideas turned into a battle over money and power which is often what happens in our own noble pursuits. (Also there were mullets, bigamy, country songs about tigers, and a one-armed woman who became the voice of reason.)
Organizations are usually created to offer something noble:
- A non-profit that houses homeless veterans.
- A business that builds a better ventilator.
- A foundation that supports young adults after they age out of foster care.
- A school that teaches poor kids how to play musical instruments
- A restaurant that offers Meals on Wheels for people with HIV.
- A church that wants to show their neighborhood what the love of God really looks like.
We are blessed in these pandemic days to hear stories about people offering noble pursuits and it shows the best of who we are. The best looks like this: generosity, selflessness, kindness, patience, creativity.
But if we lose our focus, if we become dazzled by power or personal gain, it all falls apart. It doesn’t take much for a benevolent (and maybe even holy) mission to become all about the wrong thing.
I see churches diminished by this all the time.
- The church that was established in the 1950s to offer Christian nurture to the neighborhood worrying more about their discomfort with demographic changes than their original mission to love all God’s children.
- The church that was once The Big Steeple involved in everything from community mental health initiatives to teaching English as a Second Language focusing instead on that steeple and how badly it needs to be painted.
- The church that started the best preschool in town now more concerned about pleasing the Preschool Director than pleasing God.
Why does an organization you love and support exist? Does it’s current existence reflect why it was formed in the first place? I hope so.
Image of food collection for a neighborhood in Charlotte, NC serving those who’ve lost their employment this month.