this post is from an email i sent earlier in the week:
This past Friday night I was watching some news footage of shoppers waiting in line outside a Toys R Us at 5 am, waiting to jump in and grab all those special “door-buster” deals. Once the doors opened, they rushed in and started shopping. As the broadcast continued, they showed shoppers at Target, The Disney Store and various malls all filled with people stuffing shopping carts full of all the latest toys, gadgets, clothes and whatever else they could buy to make their loved ones happy. After watching that report, I called a friend who I knew had gone out yesterday morning to do some shopping. He told me that people were blocking aisles so that others couldn’t come in and grab that last toy or whatever things they thought were so precious that they had to have them!
With all this in mind, I couldn’t help but think of the current economic state, and the life of the church as a whole. America, and the Church, have become nothing more than consumers of whatever is hot, whatever is the lowest price, whatever makes our lives more convenient. I love the Church, I love the local church, and I believe that the Church is the bride of Christ which He died for and is using to bring forth His kingdom, but I can’t help but think that there are times when He looks at us and shakes His head. What are we doing to ourselves? I read my bible and I don’t see anything that looks like what we have today. Granted, we live in a different time with advancements in many areas of our life that have greatly enhanced how we live, but in what areas are we compromising true faith for watered down consumeristic “churchianity?” James 1:27 says, “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” Jesus himself said, as stated in John 6:27, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures eternal life.” We have to be a church that is about the cause of Christ, not the cause of self.
The Pharisees and scribes scorned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6), the disciples tried to turn away children from coming to Him (Mark 10:13-14), and they tried to run from the obligation of feeding the 5,000 (Mark 6:35-37). Sometimes I feel like we would be doing the same things. We have got to be about he business of working for His kingdom, not against it. What is hindering us from living a more simple life, dedicated to His word, and actually following what He has told us to do? Why do we turn our backs when we see the poor begging in our streets? Why would we rather shop than give our attention and resources to those who truly need it? I have no doubt that many of us are doing these things and more, but I can’t help it when I see the images of shoppers ravaging the aisles and swiping their credit cards and my heart not break for the state in which we live. This season, this upcoming year, this life, I pray we will be a people of simplicity and Christ-like love towards those who need it; both inside the church and to those outside as well. We have to work our away from a mentality that tries to bring people to our buildings, and instead be a Church that brings ourselves to them. A thought that has challenged me the past week is this: “If our church no longer had a building, would we still be a church?”
As we evaluate whether or not we should spend money on ourselves and each other this season, I pray that we all will realize and reflect upon what Christ’s vision for His kingdom looks like, and whether buying more stuff fits into that vision. Take care this season and I pray that you will all have a safe and fruitful holiday.
Peace in Him,