Thursday, February 02, 2012
Stuff Gets In The Way
You may be thinking, “But we are called to do things for God. And what’s the alternative--continuing to allow the people in our churches to be self-consumed Christians seeking only their own comfort?” That is a very fair concern. And I completely concur with the consumer posture that is choking much of the modern church both in North American and increasingly around the globe.Jethani uses the Parable of The Prodigal to make his point:
But the prescribed solution I hear in many ministry settings is to transform people from consumer Christians into activist Christians. The exact direction of the activism may depend on one’s theological and ecclesiological orientation. For traditional evangelicals its all about evangelism--getting believers to share their faith, give to overseas missions, and grow the church.
What brought the father joy was not the older son’s service, but his presence--having his son with him. This is what the father cares about most, not his property or which son receives more of it. While the sons are fixated on the father’s wealth, the father is fixated on his sons. This is what they both failed to understand, and it is what both Christian consumerism and Christian activism fail to grasp. God’s gifts are a blessing and his work is important, but neither can or should replace God himself as our focus.I would put a slightly different emphasis here. God's presence is what changes us, not what we do, but His presence.