Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vineyards or Pyramids

There is a human tendency to create pyramids. Apparently we are impressed with pyramids and think the bigger the pyramid the more important the people are who are involved in the building of the pyramid. As impressive as pyramids may be, they are about death and not about life. The may point toward the heavens, but in reality they trap people on earth.

Here is what I mean about a pyramid.

1. The people who seem to have the most of whatever the pyramid stands for are always at the top of the pyramid system. They feed from the life and death of those who do the hard work of building the pyramid from its base.

2. The successful building of the pyramid is more important than the people who build it. People are expendable.

3. The only person who will be remembered is the owner of the pyramid and not those who built it.

Now contrast that with a vineyard.

There is a Divine desire to plant Vineyards. God is impressed with fruit that comes from individual branches. The bigger the Vineyard the more decentralized and equally distributed the shared power becomes. As unimpressive as a vineyard may appear, they are all about life and never about death. Vineyards may seem rather low to the ground and unimpressive, but their fruit points continually toward the heavens.

1. The people who work in Vineyards must always stay very close to the reality happening in each branch with their feet clearly on the ground.

2. The well-being of the vineyard is the joy of those who work in it.

3. The thing that will be remembered is the quality of the grapes and wine that came from a given year. Vineyards go on giving life from generation to generation. They are not built they are cultivated.

In church life and leadership we must constantly watch for our tendency to build pyramids. God is a farmer not a pharaoh.
Jesus certainly knew about pyramids, but it is impossible to visualize Him working His disciples to death in order to build a memorial to Him. See Him washing His disciple's feet in John 13 and you can see how close to the ground He stayed!

Metaphors are powerful. Am I working toward a Vineyard or a Pyramid? Good question for every leader. Choose your metaphors wisely.


Unknown said...

Very well put, Bud. Every branch in the vineyard becomes the point of contact between God and those who need the fruit. Everyone who is abiding is involved in most meaningful ministry and that adds value to everyone! - Russell Johnson

bud mccord said...

I know of no pastor who is a better example of keeping one's feet on the ground than you. God bless you for being willing to wash feet.