Holy Hand Grenades

And the Lord spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."
For those unaware, this is not actually from the Bible. The King's English has had many other applications beyond religious texts. This is a passage from the fictitious Book of Armaments in the celebrated cult film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Not unlike other British comedies from the 1970's, it is as silly as it is sacrilegious. In fact, religious satire often follows the ad absurdum route of pushing a religion's rituals and culture to the silliest of extremes. The sad part is that this is often done in response to the religious people, at the expense of the religious deity. The Holy Hand Grenade is no exception, though I think it is better known today by another name.

photo credit: Profound Whatever via photopin cc
You might recall the old phrase, "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." The wisdom here is that while in these two instances "close" is "close enough," in all other things "close" isn't "good enough." But that's the intrinsic value of a hand grenade. There's no need for aim or calculation; it's used in situations where preparation is a luxury and results need to be expedited. Thus, while a rifle may be accurate, a grenade is "good enough." You can get the job done without sacrificing your position and potentially your life.

Now if Ephesians 6 describes the armor of God, then I think the church has since added its own piece of armament. More often than not, we take a holy hand grenade approach to Christian service. We're expected to be "good stewards" of our resources, as if God was a Costco shopper of our offerings. So we cut corners, cut budgets, and provide Christian service that is "good enough."

Think of how many times you've heard a terrible singer on your church's worship team. No one wants to say it, but having "a heart for Jesus" doesn't make you a good singer. So you say, "but there isn't anyone else," or "no one else is willing!" Then don't do it. Don’t bring your subpar offering to God. Would you have wanted him to do the same for you?

We often forget how picky God was in the Old Testament when it came to offerings. The animals presented had to be without spot or blemish. In essence, perfect. That's because they foreshadowed the ultimate sacrifice that only he could make: Jesus. God gave up his son. And here we are hiding behind bunkers and lobbing grenades instead of getting our rifles, aiming for our target, and making the sacrifice.

We should offer nothing less than our very best. Christians should be world-renowned for excellence instead of producing music that needs its own category to win a Grammy. It's a tall order. It will take sacrifice on our part. And striving for excellence leaves us in danger of arrogance and pride. But the alternative is shaming the cross by not even trying.

Honor God in all you do, by making all you do your best. And in this, I promise you, there will truly be much rejoicing.

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