What Price Are We Willing To Pay?
[Warning: The following article may be disturbing to regular churchgoers. Please discontinue reading if you want to remain comfortable. I understand. No questions asked.]
It’s not difficult to convince the already convinced. There’s no mystery in gaining consensus of conservative Christians on the moral decline of our culture. It’s a lot easier to rally a crowd when we agree on what we’re against. But crowds don’t readily assemble when we’re addressing the topic of what we’re for. It’s a sad commentary on the modern-day church when Christians are known more for what they are against than what they are for.
Few Christians would deny that our primary mission is to align with Jesus’s mission to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He commissioned us to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). As C. S. Lewis once wrote, we are to be “little christs,” where we embody the life and mission of Jesus Christ. Jesus sent us into the world (John 17:18), although we are not of the world (John 15:19). We are to take care of orphans and widows (James 1:27), heal the sick (Luke 10:9), live generously (Mark 12:43-44), feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison (Matthew 25:35-40).
Most churches would agree with these directives, but their practices indicate otherwise. We align with the above litany of missional activities … until it costs us something. Consider, for example, actual statements I have heard from regular churchgoers over the past 25 years:
“Of course I want our church to reach lost people…
but I’m not going to let the music change,
but I’m not going to park far away,
but I’m not going to give up my seat [I’ve actually had people tell newcomers to move, because they were sitting in `their’ seats],
but I’m not going to attend at a different service time,
but I’m not going to put up with the pastor [me] dressing casually,
but I’m not going to turn things over to a bunch of young adults,
but I’m not going to….”
Yes, these are actual statements churchgoers have said to me over the years. And, yes, it’s time to repent.
I might not get very many accolades or “amens” for this, but the truth of the matter is that we say we want to reach people— because we want them in heaven—but we act like they can go to hell. Let’s try a different approach, the approach of Jesus who, at great cost and sacrifice, reached out to us. What price are we willing to pay, what sacrifice are we willing to make that others might know and receive the Lord Jesus Christ? “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).