I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don't want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want the warmth of the womb not a new birth.
I want about a pound of the eternal in a paper sack.
I'd like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
~ Wilbur Reese
It doesn’t require all that much to be a church member. The time commitment isn’t too bad; at its worst, we’re talking about three hours on Sunday and one on Wednesday (and you can easily cut it down to just 45 minutes on Sunday if you play your cards right). The cost isn’t bad either; nobody really knows how much you drop in the plate. Outside of church, all you have to do is avoid doing anything to publicly embarrass the church. It’s not a bad hobby.
But what does it take to be a disciple? That’s where things get tough, talking about denying ourselves and taking up crosses and being different from the world. That’s not really the life that most of us signed up for. It’s kind of like signing up for the safety patrol at school and finding yourself a Navy SEAL. We want to be Christians, but do we have to be fanatics about it?
Men have turned Christianity into a religion focused on gathering in a building on Sunday and doing certain things the right way. Success is measured by how many people we can gather to do things the same way that we do them. Evangelism is convincing people to come and do things the way we do them. Good church leaders organize the Sunday meetings well and make sure that the place that we meet is well taken care of. For many, that is what Christianity is about.
If we consider this to be Christianity, then we have to feel that Jesus really didn’t do a very good job of setting things up. Couldn’t He have spent at least a little time talking to us about how to do this Sunday “worship service” since it’s the center of our religion? Couldn’t He have spelled out a little better the exact rules for songs, for prayers and for taking the Lord’s Supper? Better yet, couldn’t He have left us at least one sample order of worship? Why did He spend so much of His time talking about other things?
If we want to be the Lord’s church, we have to be about the Lord’s business. If we are going to be imitators of Christ, it only makes sense that we are going to try and do the things He did. We will want to talk about the things He talked about and concentrate on the things He concentrated on.
Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) That’s every day. Not weekly. Not twice a week. Daily.
It’s all or nothing. Total commitment. We are His or we aren’t. God wants an intimate, daily relationship with us. He compares it again and again to a marriage. He doesn’t want to be a part of our lives; He wants to be our lives.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30) Not some. Not part. All.
Not $3.00 worth. Not one day a week’s worth. Not “inside the church building” worth. God wants all of us, every day. That’s what it is to be a disciple. That’s what it is to be a Christian.
Someone said that instead of focusing on being the right church, we should focus on being the right kind of Christians. The gathering of the right kind of Christians will be the right church.
$3 worth of God? Why don’t you supersize that?
~ Tim Archer