There is a belief system that can be summarized as the ends justify the means. This is the belief that the ends are the only thing that matters. How you get there doesn’t matter. The Houston Astros World Series winning team from a couple of years ago could be accused of espousing this belief – they were caught cheating. But hey, I thought only winning mattered, not how you get there, right?
A good deal of our political culture seems to embrace this idea. But that’s not new really. That’s been the norm in politics regardless of location, nation, politicians, or time period. That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing, more just a recognition of the unfortunate realities of politics.
I could go on, but I really don’t feel like dwelling on such negativity as is it were somehow normal, respectable, or Christ-like.
See, God doesn’t buy into the idea of the ends justify the means. Not even close. Jesus is the end. Jesus is the summation of what life is about. Jesus is the goal. So certainly, the ends matter.
But here’s the thing – Jesus is also the means. His whole earthly life was about calling people to follow him and his way of being – in other words, to follow Jesus is the means. How we get to where we are going matters to God. A great deal. If it didn’t, then there would have been no need for Jesus’ earthly ministry, no need to disciples, miracles, call stories, healings, exorcisms, welcoming strangers, feeding people, etc. Those aren’t means in and of themselves. They are the means. The means to what? The means to the unfolding of the Kingdom of God.
God values both the ends and the means. And calls on us to do likewise. That’s what discipleship is all about.