The hardest part of being a Christian is putting something else in front of your own desires. It may be a person or a job or even (gasp) spending time along with God. Let’s be honest, we all could make excuses about why the supposedly important things in our life just don’t happen. The truth is that we make time for the things that are important to us. It is just one of those facts of life we don’t like to admit but it is obviously true.
Just consider how much time we spend during the day for ourselves. The average person spends at least 20-30 minutes each day cleaning and grooming and working on how they look. We spend hours eating so that we don’t go hungry. And most of us take time to relax and watch a television show or read a book. We also make sure that we spend time with our loved ones because they are valuable. But what does the amount of time we spend with God say about how we truly feel about him?
I’m convinced the biggest problem in the American Church is not persecution, not financial difficulties, not declining attendance, or even moral relativism (as bad as that problem is). I am convinced that the biggest problem with the American Church is apathy. We no longer seem to care that people who die without Christ’s salvation will go to Hell. If we did, wouldn’t we spend more time telling them about Christ?
Maybe we are busy. Maybe we have so much going on that we honestly forget that eternity matters. As a man with three jobs, a wife and two children, and a full time graduate student I promise I understand busy. But we can no longer sit back and let the Church do the work God intended us to do. We must realize that people do not simply come to Church gatherings in a building just because it is what you are supposed to do on a Sunday or Wednesday. We must instead go to them and build relationships that lead to opportunities to share Christ with them.
Before we get to my challenge for the day let me encourage you to stop and read Chapter 4 from the book of James. In this passage James (the half-brother of Jesus) offers some great wisdom about life and how we as Christians should live. Now that you have read the entire chapter let me point out a particular part that I think applies to our goal for today:
James 4 (NLT):
13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”
14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.
15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
Think about that for a second; how do you know what will happen tomorrow? How do we even know we will have a tomorrow? This past month I have witnessed terrible tragedies happen in the lives of people I care about. They certainly were not planning on that to happen. But it did. We get hurt, we lose jobs, we have problems, and eventually we die. It is the nature of life. We just cannot promise what tomorrow will bring.
This is why we must make each day count. We must have those hard conversations with people we love so that they know the truth. We must call fellow Christians out for the things they are doing wrong that provide a bad testimony for Christ and cause others to stumble. And most important, we must remember that people who die without Christ spend eternity in Hell. Every day matters!
So my challenge to us today is to remember that the heartbeat of Jesus’ ministry was to seek and save those who are lost. If we are not doing the same thing then something is wrong. If we do not have the same heart for lost people that Christ does then we need to examine ourselves and see what is out of place. We must care for others today while there is still time.
James Ch. 4:17 – Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.