2 weeks ago
Friday, November 28, 2008
Today I talked to a man who does work in oil fields in Nigeria. He goes for months at a time, comes home for a month or two, then goes again. He's not a Christian. We got to talking about how I wanted to do mission work (possibly in Africa), and he pointed out something very interesting.
He said in Nigeria there are churches everywhere, almost like here. Every store and place he went into had Jesus' name up and everybody was constantly praising Jesus. But, he said, they treat people like garbage. They're always looking how to take advantage of someone. They commonly leave dead people on the side of the road, can be very violent, and treat women horribly. He told me how strange it was that they praised Jesus so much but lived so terribly. I only had one thought...
America is not much different.
We have churches all over the place. A large majority of America claims to believe in Christ in one way or another. Yet, walking through a supermarket or turning on the television you couldn't guess it.
It's so easy to have a theoretical faith, isn't it? It's so easy to sing songs to Jesus on Sunday, hold our hands up high, put money in the plate, have Bibles highlighted up the whole way through. But when things get tough or we're by ourselves, we really end up doing whatever we want to do, don't we?
It seems like many Church leaders just want to get people in the doors of their buildings. We're doing that well enough, I'd say. We need less churchgoers and more Christ-followers. The trouble in Africa, and everywhere else, is not just getting people to believe in Jesus. What does believing in Jesus mean if it doesn't change who I am? If Heaven is real, why can't I live like it now?
This got me immediately thinking, "I wonder if people have had the same thoughts about me?" If he's so passionate about Jesus, why doesn't he act more like Him? I'm sure people have had thoughts like that about me, and it saddens me. I don't just want to talk about Jesus, I want to actually be like Him.
I want to defend those who can't defend themselves, especially when it's inconvenient to do so. I want to have the same integrity of doing what's right regardless of who I'm around. I want to treat people better... like they matter, no matter who they are.
I'm praying that the Gospel will shape who we are, not just what we believe.
I'm curious what you guys think. What does having a more practical faith look like to you? How can we be more like the Jesus we sing about?