Southwest Airlines is one of the most amazing business success stories in American history. In his book, “Start with Why,” Simon Sinek points to their clarity of purpose as a key to success. “In the early 1970’s, only 15 percent of the traveling population traveled by air. At that rate, the market was small enough to scare most would-be competitors to the big airlines. But Southwest wasn’t interested in competing against everyone else for 15 percent of the traveling population. Southwest cared about the other 85 percent. Back then, if you asked Southwest whom their competition was, they would have told you, ‘We compete against the car and the bus.’ But what they meant was, ‘We’re the champion for the common man.’” (p.71)
Jesus Christ is THE most amazing success story in world history. In the Gospel of Matthew, He points with clarity to His mission and therefore, as believers, our mission.
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. (Matthew 18:12-14)
It’s interesting how Biblical principles often flow over into the business world. Southwest Airline left the 15 percent to pursue the 85 percent. Jesus left the 99 percent to pursue the 1 percent. The lesson here is that in order to get different results we have to be willing to do different things. Southwest went where other airlines weren’t willing to go; the common man. Jesus went where comfort wasn’t and where the math didn’t seem to dictate…after the lost sheep. How does the clarity of Christ’s purpose inform the behavior of the believer? How does it inform the priorities, programming, and planning of the local church? What should the church do? Or, as Francis Schaefer once put it, “How should we then live?” Jesus is the champion for the common, un-churched, un-saved, man.