One thing that has grieved me lately is seeing the state of the American church as one that — from leadership down — is more self-serving than self-sacrificing. Having been a part of larger and smaller congregations, I have seen this in both…
There are the obvious issues such as music, ministries, etc. It can be regarding music (I want contemporary /traditional music,etc) or activities and programs. It can be about video or no video. We tend to want what we want, and miss out on what might actually make a greater impact for the kingdom. But I think it goes beyond that.
I wonder if we are getting to a point in modern culture where where we really don’t have time for God.
We give Him trinkets (Sunday morning, prayer before meals and bed, maybe an occasional glance at the Bible), but are we willing to sacrifice for Him? Are we willing to sacrifice for His kingdom?
- Why is it a burden when we have to follow His rules and plans, as opposed to pleasing Him through our living (which is actually living how we were created to live)?
- Why is it considered a sacrifice when we have to help out at church (statistics say that 10% of the people at a church do 90% of the work), or to share our faith with others?
- Why is it that we consider sharing our faith with the lost something that is left to pastors and evangelists?
It is well documented in the first few chapters of Acts that people sacrificed financially so that those in need would have their needs met.
When the apostles were whipped and beaten for preaching the Gospel (Acts 5), they rejoiced at being considered worthy. People in the early church were happy to sell their possessions to help others in need. And if you look at Foxes Book of Martyrs (a staple in Puritan homes at second only to the Bible), you see people willing to self-sacrifice for the cause of Christ.
And when the burden of preaching, praying and waiting on table (and helping those in need) got to be too great, they chose people to step up and help fill those needs from among the best of the group. This group of seven gladly stepped in to be used by God for His glory and for the building of His kingdom.
In the modern church, Jesus may have sacrificed everything, but
- Barna statistics show thatthe more someone makes, the lower percentage their giving.
- Trying to get people to help at church is burdensome. I give Him Sunday mornings… I need the rest for me time, or to do the things I have committed (or overcommitted) to do.
- People are less and less inclined to share their faith with others, as our faith is personal and we leave others to find their own way…
Whatever happened to being sold out for Christ? Putting Him first? Making His priorities our priorities? What happened to self-sacrifice for His cause?
Lord, we as a church have become complacent. We are more like the church at Laodicea than we are the early church that we see in the early chapters of Acts. Help us, Lord! Shake us from our slumber! Put Your fire in our hearts, with Your passion and love running through our veins. And as the time grows short, may we (just like the early church), be willing to sacrifice for You and Your glory. In Jesus’ Name…