Some people do not know that I am attending an A.B.H.E. (Association for Biblical Education) approved university, majoring in Christian Ministries. I attended college when I graduated from high school, but life has various journeys; after ten years with a different career focus, I was given a new direction.
When I decided to answer the call and take the path before me, I slowly began telling people that I was returning to school. Most people accepted the news with open arms. Some wanted to know exactly what type of employment could be found with a degree from the university I attend. The university has many majors, all geared toward Christian education, ministry, and counseling. When I let one friend know this information, she gave me an unexpected answer. She said if and when there was a time when I would lead a church, she would attend.
It is certainly a great compliment to have someone say they would love to attend somewhere with your leadership. I was gracious with my response; however, as I pondered over what was said, I was concerned. She was putting her entire walk with God in my hands. She was basically saying she was going to sit outside the door, waiting till I came, and then enter. There are a few issues that trouble me. What if it takes me too long to enter the door? What if something happens prohibiting me from entering? What if I am directed in a different direction? Will she simply sit there, waiting, or will she enter? There is a big difference if we attempt to come to God with open arms, or if we are attached to someone along the way. God wants us all back, but He wants us to walk through the door. I don’t believe it is wrong to initially walk through the door with someone; however, one cannot sit in waiting, believing it is the only way.
I do not believe our God is scary. If people who haven’t read the Old Testament open that section up in their Bibles, they may say He is very scary. I will admit after reading some passages, I got the chills. However, if we read the Bible, truly read the Bible, it is very clear that God loves His children. With the situation with my friend, I do not believe it has anything to do with fearing the Old Testament God. She has experienced the Christian tight belts.
The Christian tight belts are those “Christians” who walk around with this belief of being higher above others. They have everything looking good on the outside. Clothing pressed and a sparkling smile. They are saved and therefore they are better. It’s like at the supermarket in the meat department. There is the 95% lean meat which is proudly displayed on the top shelf, and then there’s the 75% ground beef at the bottom. Everyone wants the lean meat, because they know it’s better, but some cannot afford the cost so it turns them away.
People are turned away by the 95% lean meat. People are also turned away by people who attend church and believe they deserve to earn a gold medal for it. As we all know, when we are saved, we are all on the same area of the plane. There is no first class and coach. No one is better than the next person. We are certainly supposed to shine the light to non-believers, and spread the Message. However, the Gospel is not to go out as a “I’m better than you because I know and have accepted this and you haven’t” type scenario.
Our God is compassionate. Our God sent His only Son to come redeem us from our shortcomings. If we look closely at each of our lives, we can all see the evidence of these fallen moments. Even after we accept Christ, they occur. As children of God, we are all family to the King. We are all precious. Remember, that the King came here to serve. The King gave the ultimate sacrifice. We, too, should serve as our Lord has left us a clear example. When we do that, when we show God’s love to others, the lean meat looks appealing. The lean meat is affordable, and doesn’t look to be too high up on the shelf.
Do not sit outside, waiting for someone to take you in the door. If you go to a church and you do not feel right, there are many more churches around the corner. While selecting a church, remember that Bible reading and prayer are important, and will help in the selection process. If you have accepted Christ, do not believe for a second that you are above those who haven’t yet. They also have the invitation; it’s just taking them longer to R.S.V.P. Instead of pushing them away for putting the invitation to the side, perhaps you can show them God’s invitation by sharing your own journey.
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve; and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:43b-44 [NIV]