Are you really playing your part? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
If you’re a sports fan, chances are you’ve gone to a stadium or similar venue and seen a game before. At the end of the game, you go home. You might buy some memorabilia or if possible get some autographs but other than that, your part is done. You can easily imagine doing the same if you attend a concert of your favorite band sometime. Another place you can picture your part being done is when you attend the Sunday service at your local church.
Wait. That last one doesn’t fit.
Unfortunately, too many Christians do think that they’re doing their full duty by attending a church service. Some think they’ve upped their duty by attending Bible Study as well. Believe it or not, while many of us hold to the spiritual gifts, there is not a spiritual gift of “Keeping a seat warm in a church.”
Many of you are looking at the world around you and wondering where things went wrong. If you are wondering that, then look in your mirror. That is where you will find the problem. What has gone wrong in our world is not that the world has been the world. That’s what we would expect. What has gone wrong is that the church has not been the church. A large part of it is this idea that we don’t want to offend anyone because if we offend people, well we’re not really showing them the love of Jesus.
You know, the Jesus who called out his opponents in public, shamed them greatly, called them broods of vipers and white-washed tombs, and was such a challenge to that culture that they ended up crucifying Him.
Too many of us treat Christianity like a spectator sport and our duty is to go to church and then be a good person. (Because you know, so many people in this world avoid the goal of being a good person.) If you think you’re really contributing to the cause of Christ if you do those two things, quite frankly, you’re not. Many people also have an idea that they just need to worry about themselves and their children and forget the rest of the world. You also are part of the problem.
If you were a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, etc. you would be one constantly. You would seek to live in a way that conformed to your political beliefs and many of you would want to be informed on your beliefs. You would not be one of those just one day a week. If you were a vegan or a vegetarian, you would not lose sight of that if you went to a restaurant. You would remember what you eat and don’t eat and act accordingly. If you’re a husband or a wife, you are not those one day of the week. You are them every day. (And I fear many treat their marriages as a case of giving the bare minimum.) If you’re a parent, you are not a parent just one day of the week. You are constantly a parent.
And yet, Christianity is supposed to be the most important commitment in your life and so many people give it less attention than all of the above.
So what can you do?
Here are some steps.
First off, support. Give your support to the people who need and deserve it. Let’s start with your pastor. Believe it or not, being a pastor really is a hard job, that is, if you’re doing it right. You have administrative duties of the church, budgets to work on, counseling to have to give, preparation all week for a sermon, your own personal study, taking care of your family, and your own spiritual life has to be fed. You know how rare it is to get appreciation as a pastor? That’s why I’ve made it a note to let my pastor know that I appreciate him from time to time. Do it every week and it will likely become something expected. Just out of the blue though, send an encouraging email to your pastor and let him know you appreciate him. It could be the boost that he needs in the day.
This also applies to the people you respect in other fields. There are many of us who look at certain people that we interact with as valuable ones in what we do, and we so rarely take the time to thank them for what they have done in our lives. Don’t assume that it is known. It might not be known. Even if it is known, that little note that shows up from time to time is quite a boost. (I in fact have followed the advice of my own pastor and made a folder called “encouragement” where I put encouraging notes and emails and such that I get so that when I get in a slump later on, I can review them.)
Second, give. There are many ways that you can give. Don’t stop with the bare minimum. First off, give to your local church. They’re trying to serve Christ in your community. Next, give to those outside of the church. Don’t waste those finances on these prosperity preachers you see on TBN and elsewhere. Give to ministries that you see are producing real fruit. You would be surprised how much your favorite ministries could do with some small support. Don’t think what you give is too small. It’s not. Creflo Dollar made a scandal in the church by asking 200,000 people to donate $300 so he could get a jet.
With our expenses here, we would be set if we had just 5 people donating $300 a month. We could probably do less, but just consider that an approximation. When you support ministries like this, you are saying you want the person to be able to devote a large portion of their time and energy to their ministry. (I say a large portion since to be clear, a person has to take care of their own family and their own spiritual life as well) To speak in small amounts, the above numbers could be altered to speak of 300 people donating $5 a month. Many other ministries could likewise do well with just a large contingent of small donations.
Many can’t give financially, but you can give in other ways. You can share the work of the person that you admire and be their biggest fan. You can offer your services in other ways, such as we have a team here of people who volunteer to keep this web site running. You can talk to your pastor about seeing if they can come and speak at your church or seeing if your pastor would consider them as a ministry worthy of your support.
What else do you do after this? Study. Learn something about Christianity. If you think this should be the most important facet of your life, learn about it. Many know more about their favorite sports team, TV show, band, or political party than they do about their Christianity. This is a great shame. You are not doing your Christian duty just by going and enjoying your worship service. Make it a point to really learn something about your Christianity. I imagine the Gospel would be better shared here in America if we all at least had a basic apologetic beyond our personal testimony.
Teach your children about this as well. Many of our young people are growing up and looking at issues like redefining marriage and don’t have a single clue why this should be a great area of concern for them. If they grow up with a light faith that consists of being an individualistic all about me walk, well don’t be surprised if they jump ship as soon as something comes along that offers better benefits to them. Of course, that won’t happen in college at all. Not a chance. Your children will only experience a culture of people drinking and having a lot of fun doing it and getting to have rampant sex with anyone who comes along and as we know, young people are not at all tempted by alcohol and sex.
Honor your family as well. Following those principles in Ephesians and Colossians on running a family will work great for all involved. If we want to find out why the world isn’t honoring marriage today, it’s because the church failed to honor it first. Live your life in such a way in accordance with Biblical values in marriage and parenting. If you’re single, then follow a similar principle. No sex. If you plan to marry, date someone of the opposite sex because you want to find out if they’re someone to marry. Never treat someone of the opposite sex as if they’re someone to just fulfill your desires.
After all of this, really walk the walk. If it’s not being uncomfortable for you, you’re doing it wrong. Treat your Christianity like a lifestyle. Treat it as you are living in service of the King, because you are. Learn about this and see how it applies in every single area of your life.
Christianity is not a spectator sport. You’re either helping the Great Commission or you’re hindering it. There is no middle ground.