Sorry I haven’t written in awhile, it’s been a busy couple of days.
A few nights ago I was at a regional meeting enjoying an amazing apple crisp over a robust discussion about the current state of the church in North America. The conversation turned to the non-commital mentality of so many churchgoers these days. And then the guy next to me said something that almost made me choke on my crisp:
He said that these days “people come to church holding a cup of coffee and serve with one hand.”
Just to be clear, I didn’t almost choke because what he said was offensive. I almost choked because I’d never heard someone capture the spirit of this generation so accurately and profoundly.
“Sure, I’ll serve,” so many people seem to be saying, “As long as I get my coffee. As long as I don’t have to put it down. As long as it doesn’t cost me too much or require me to roll up my sleeves and actually sacrifice something meaningful for the cause of Christ. Sure, I’ll serve—but not all year long. Give me a project with a time window—you know, with a beginning and an end not too far apart. Sure, I’ll serve—but I’m not giving up my recreational activities for the kingdom of God. I’ll serve, but you should know that everything that I find more exciting will be more important than church in my actual daytimer. Sure, I’ll serve… I’ll do you a favour and help you out. No problem. If it suits me. I’ll volunteer and commit myself fully to this, but if in the meantime I find something else to do that conflicts with my original commitment, you’re out of luck and I expect you to understand fully. No disappointment, no “But you signed up for this.” Got it?”
That whole paragraph is brilliantly summed up with, “People come to church holding a cup of coffee and serve with one hand.” Wow.
And just launching into one of the typical, “I have no use for the organized church” rants, blah blah blah, is just a smokescreen for the fact that we’re not infatuated the point of sacrificial, blood letting, passionate, intense, life-altering service to Jesus Christ and the broken world he died to save. We treat Jesus like the child we bring to the mall, doling out tiny morsels of gummy candy for him to suck on once every hour to keep him from complaining while we’re shopping. Where is the surrender, the “I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” spirit? You know, like, the HOLY Spirit that is supposed to live in us and make us HOLY, which means wholly devoted more than it means anything?