Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Is It Even Mostly Most Important?

Just think back over the last several discussions you've had with Christian, or even the ones you just happen to overhear. If you're a church leader, add to that all the things all the other leaders have passed on to you lately about the "concerns" that members have. Now, blend them all together and come up with a concoction that summarizes what seems to be the most important one thing in the church today.
Many people, and this certainly doesn't include everyone, seem to still be driven by the extremely selfish and worldly goal of "keep me happy and comfortable," which translates in church-speak as "I want an uplifting and inspirational worship." It's selfish because it's all about what "I want" and what "makes me feel good." It's worldly, because it's the product of centuries of formalizing traditions, elevating the assembly, and changing a giving event into a receiving experience.
I have been saying that for a lot of years now. My wife might even say, "A little too often". For the folks who have had to hear it multiple times, that may be true. I am just astounded that we continue to major in minors and so completely miss the point of why God put the church in place. But then I think about how much and how long he has been saying what he wants, and how much and how often his people have ignored or forgotten it.
A teacher of the law came up to Jesus right after he had dealt with trick questions, one from the Pharisees and one from the Sadducees, and asked, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" Your first inclination is to assume it's another trick question, but evidently it was an honest seeker, wanting confirmation of what he understood.
You know what Jesus said: "THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE is this..." and he quotes God's original command from Deuteronomy 6, that we should, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. THERE IS NO COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE." (Mark 12:28-31)
God said it first and it was repeated by Moses, Jesus, Paul, James, Peter, and John, just to name a few, and the people of God continually seem to lose track of what the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO GOD IS! Love him and love one another, which is how we learn to love him!
The teacher of the law, in Mark 12, got it. He not only praised Jesus for his answer, but pointed out that it was "more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." These were the most important "acts of worship" to every Jewish worshipper. That makes me want to ask, "What things have we allowed to become more important than God's MOST IMPORTANT ONE THING? Again, has the tool become more important than the purpose? When do we start evaluating "church growth" by what God wants rather than by what the world says it is?

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