Among other reading, over the weekend I read the rather lengthy — 25 pages — introduction to a forthcoming title by author and Group Magazine editor Rick Lawrence. Because the book, Shrewd: Daring to Live the Startling Command of Jesus isn’t releasing until August, I’ll return to it closer to the publication date, partly in deference to my brothers and sisters who have brick and mortar bookstores and therefore lack the luxury of locking customers in ahead of time. (Rather shrewd of me, don’t ya think?)
Shrewd is all about the Parable of the Shrewd Manager recorded in Luke 16: 1-9 — a parable not commonly taught in many churches — and about living in the tension between being wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove, a reference to Matthew 10:16.
I know of a few Evangelical fundraisers who don’t particularly need to hear this message — we’ve proved that Evangelicalism can be a prime breeding and hatching ground for all manner of financial schemes and ripoffs — but I’ll give author Rick Lawrence the benefit of the doubt on this one. In general, sometimes Christian people can be very naive and very gullible and very trusting.
If you don’t believe me, look at the email forwards you’ve received from Christian friends. We are very quick to swallow just about any story that is on the circuit. Did you know Rick Warren is a Muslim? (He’s not, but now I can’t wait to see all the search engine hits I get for having that phrase here.) We don’t do due diligence.
But we also easily lapse into Christianese to explain away our lack of ingenuity. I’ve already written about how I fell into the trap of waiting for God’s leading in a particular season of life, instead of being proactive and making things happen. In the name of not striving, that’s a particular weakness I still wrestle with; and not having read past the intro, I suspect many of Lawrence’s examples will concern career and business decisions.
His definition centers on applying the right force, at the right time, in the right place. Though the book is scheduled to be tagged: “religion, Christian life;” I think it’s also a definite book for political and business leaders, not to mention church leadership.
So what do you think? Are Christians too laid back or laissez faire when it comes to the things of this world? Do we need some lessons in shrewdness?
Or maybe it’s just that not enough of us play chess.