Tuesday, April 21, 2009
John and I just got back from going on a youth retreat with our small groupies and kids from our church. We got very little sleep but it was awesome to see how God is working in the lives of the young people in this generation. They really are running after God; they want more of Him and to see His power manifested in their lives. It is humbling to be able to witness the fire that our Father has set in the hearts of these kids. It has given me a greater desire to run after God myself and to go further on the path that He has laid out for me.
I've been struggling, as many of you know, to find that path, the perfect path that God has laid out for me. God has been speaking to my heart but it's still hard for me to see. I'm trying to live each day, one at a time, with the faith that it is He who is leading me. One thing I've been struggling with lately is the apathy of the church. This is one topic that has me really fired up and I'm not sure what to do with it.
The thing I see that is driving me absolutely crazy is this: Why doesn't the church get it? And by 'church' I mean the global church, each and every individual who calls themselves Christ followers and who makes up the body of Christ. There is something huge that Christ-followers are missing. Even more specifically, I'm talking about American Christians; those of us who live in wealth and abundance and yet are either too naive or too busy or too blind to see God's children dying all over the world.
A lot of Christians are getting it right, so please don't flame me if you're one of them. I'm just frustrated with those who don't get it. When a disciple asked Jesus what the greatest command was, He said this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands. That's right, all the Law and all the Prophets hang on these two commands!! I think a lot of us get the loving God thing down okay, but it's the 'loving our neighbor as ourselves' that we have trouble with. And again, I'm talking to Christ-followers here, those of us who have been given a command and yet just don't get it.
We live in such a self-absorbed culture. How many of us are loving our neighbors as ourselves? (If you don't know who your neighbor is, you can read about it in Luke, chapter 10.) How can we sit by and let thousands upon thousands of children die of curable or treatable diseases in places like Africa? How can we turn a blind eye to widows and orphans in places like Guyana with no clean drinking water? How do we sleep at night when children are sleeping in the streets and are sold into sex-trafficking all around the world? How can we save for cushy retirements when children are dying TODAY, RIGHT NOW because they don't have adequate medical care all over the world?
It seems to me that 'ignorance is bliss' could be a new church motto in our country. No wonder the world hates Americans. We spend a lot of our time complaining about what we don't have, bitching and complaining about the government and the president, wasting our time at Tea Parties and the like, complaining about taxes and the economy and spending our money on worthless crap from Walmart. Is that what it means to love your neighbor? As churches we tend to place a high priority on Jesus as a 'get out of hell free' card instead of ministering to the needs of those who are really in need. Yes, we all need Jesus, but: Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? The thing about Jesus is He met people where they were and fulfilled their needs. How can we expect to preach the gospel without first meeting the basic needs of those we're trying to reach? Why should we expect people to truly be saved when we're all talk and no walk?
My heart is heavy. How can it not be? I want to make a difference. I will make a difference. We can all make a difference. None of this is too big or too un-surmountable for God, or for us if we are truly Christ-followers. I hope you'll think about some of this and pray about what you can personally do to make a difference to 'the least of these'.