Francis Chan in Chapter 5 of Crazy Love is exploring how we Christians often give our leftovers to God. He asks the question, “How many of us would really leave our families, our jobs, our education, our friends, our connections, our familiar surroundings, and our homes if Jesus asked us to? If He just showed up and said, ‘Follow me’? Now explanation. No directions.” He goes on to say:
You could follow Him straight up a hill to be crucified. Maybe He would lead you to another country, and you would never see your family again. Or perhaps you would stay put, but He would ask you to spend your time helping people who will never love you back and never show gratitude for what you gave up.
What scares me most are the people who are lukewarm and just don’t care. I think that if I did a poll of the readers of this book, many of you would say, “Yeah, I am definitely lukewarm at times, but I’m not really at a place to give more to God.” Many of us believe we have as much of God as we want right now, a reasonable portion of God among all the other things in our lives. Most of our thoughts are centered on the money want to make, the school we want to attend, the body we aspire to have, the spouse we want to marry, the kind of person we want to become…. But the fact that nothing should concern us more than our relationship with God; it’s about eternity, and nothing compares with that. God is not someone who can be tacked on to our lives.
What a world we live in. For a few hours a week (more if we are taking responsibility for our spiritual growth like we should) we put truth into our minds. But every other message around us seems to be both yelling and whispering “You, and what YOU want, and what YOU deserve is more important than anthing else or anyone else in the world.” It’s no wonder we come to our gatherings to worship together and have such a hard time connecting with God. Our minds and lives are so programmed to serve our selfish desires that it is a major mental, emotional, and spiritual shift to authentically sing praises to God. We stand there and attempt to thank God for all He’s done when we spent the whole week wrongfully proud of ourselves and our own accomplishments.
As a pastor, specifically one who stands up front and leads people in worship of God, there’s is something I desire – possibly above all else – of myself and everyone else. I can’t say that I practice this 100% of the time. What I wish we could all do is be honest. I wish that we could all be honest with God about how we feel, about our lack of faith, about our “secret” desires (God knows our secrets), or about our doubts. I fear that when people walk in to our auditorium on Sunday morning, they feel there is a certain expectation of what image they are to portray. They are driven by acceptance or by social rules. If there is shame from sin, we bear it and hope it doesn’t show. If there is boredom, we hide it. To be honest, I see so many faces that seem to say “I wish I were somewhere else right now”. And I’m not blaming anyone for how they feel. I’m just saying, well, then don’t come to church!
As a worship leader, I would love it for people to come to me and say:
- I feel far from God.
- I don’t mean any of the words in the songs we sing.
- I don’t understand what those words mean.
- I don’t think God loves me.
- I feel no emotional love for God.
- I want to let loose but don’t feel comfortable in a crowd.
- I’m angry with God
- I don’t believe God is interested in me at all
- Honestly, I’d rather be somewhere else then church on Sunday morning
Where is the safe place for people to voice their doubts? Their hurts?
Going back to what Chan said, for those who call themselves Christians, but show no evidence that Jesus is in charge of their life, I wish they would just be honest. For those who call themselves Christian and have no intention of working on a relationship with Jesus and are content following their own directives for the rest of their lives, why not just drop the label and call yourself not-a-Christan. I wish we could all be honest.