It’s been five sleeps since most of us last gathered with our church family to pray, sing songs of praise and listen to God’s word. In a few days we will again drive to those places of worship while driving past the homes of people who do not find God necessary. These are people who have chosen to stay away from church because they would rather sleep in, take a child to a sport practice or game, cast a lure into a lake, hit a golf ball or gather with friends at Timmy’s to share a few laughs. Many of these people are our friends who we have socialized with, talked about their lives, and have been on our prayer lists. Many of them are satisfied with the lives they have built for themselves, with their homes, their jobs and their children; people we view life as good enough and see no need for Jesus.
Why indeed. Scripture tells us that there is no difference between any of us and we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Sin interferes with day-to-day living and has eternal repercussions. However many, including believers, have chosen to define sin based on their circumstances while believing they are doing life well enough. They see the bible as antiquated musings that do not apply to 2016 and unfortunately, many believers contribute to this mindset. If we stand some followers alongside those who choose not to believe and compare their lives, we probably would see no difference. These type of believers act as if they had no hope. They complain about the same things, they are stressed and anxious when family issues arise, they rant about their neighbours, complain about their politicians, question church decisions and offer similar excuses on Sunday mornings when they choose to skip church. Side-by-side some are very much like their non-believing friends because life seems good and they see no need for God beyond Sunday mornings. They see no need to set aside time to pray, to reading scripture, or to want to share the Good News with others.
There is an intentionality required to be a follower of Christ. It leads to rewards both on earth and in heaven; peace and calmness on earth and an eternity of happiness in heaven. It cannot come about with part time commitment. It requires the follower to commit to Jesus. It requires reading the bible and not just to say they read so many pages but to say they read a story about God’s love. A love that encourages them when they are trying to understand a disruptive neighbour, deal with an angry driver in traffic, or encounter a heavily tattooed homeless youth wearing clothes they could never imagine should be worn by anyone. A follower, who chooses to read God’s word and talk with Him, sees the world differently. When they respond to what they read, they make different choices including wanting to share Jesus with those who believe that life is good enough. Followers of Jesus should be able to share about a life that is different from the one lived before they choose to become a follower. They should want to talk about the circumstances that lead to their decision to follow Jesus, and they should be able to speak glowingly about a life transformed because of the commitment to follow. The committed follower will want to share this Good news because their life is not the same as the friend who does not know God.