Wednesday, August 30, 2006

RELEVANT MAGAZINE: The Dreaded Christian Table

To my non-blogging friends - in order to read the article click on the title.

This article saddened, but didn't surprise me. We as the Body of Christ have the opportunity to share the love of Christ in many different ways. Often times we miss the not so obvious opportunities - like the way we treat waiters and waitresses in resturants. How we talk to those who cut our hair, take our money at gas stations, police as they give us tickets (yes I have had the opportunity to "minister" to police officers), and so and so forth.

Do we see these opportunities for what they are - ways in which we can show a dying world the love of Christ? Or do we blow them off, ignore them, or simply miss out because we are too consumed by our busy schedules. Our busy schedules, our agendas, our, our our... mine....mine...mine... Does God's agenda get crowded out of our life?

When I talk about sharing the love of Christ to those around us, I'm not talking about handing out a tract or Bible.... though we could have an opportunity to do that. I am simply talking about demonstrating God's love in practical ways. Opening doors for people, tipping well, smiling, not gossping at the hairdressers, offering to pray for someone who seems down, remembering the attendant's name at the local QT that you visit waaaaay too often (ok, that one is directed to me), or helping out a neighbor, etc, etc.

I am simply talking about loving people. 1 Corinthians 13 addresses a church that struggled with this, not unlike the American church I believe.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all the mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing," (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ESV).

Did you catch that? Without love we are a noisy gong in the ears of the unchurched. Without love we gain nothing and are nothing. We lose our influence - we are no longer salt (Matthew 5:13).

I mean if we see a homeless guy on the street in desperate need for water, are we going to say, "can I share with you the Four Spiritual Laws?" I wouldn't think so, instead I would hope most of us would say - "let me get you something to drink."

Sharing Christ + lack of love = wasted opportunity. So tip well, share a kind word to the QT attendant, meet a need that you see. Love people as Jesus would.

5 comments:

Noah Braymen said...

Good word!

I have had some of the best opportunities to talk about Jesus with my barber. BTW...Roosevelt Barber on 42nd street is the BOMB!

They are mad fiends at cuttin' hair. And they're really nice to boot!~

In Christ
Noah

Lara N said...

That is a sad article. I've been on the "waitressing" side so I know it to be true. What about this thought...if the body of Christ was really acting as the body of Christ, would we really need watered down messages or "seeker driven" churches in order to "bring in the lost"? Are we using worldly tactics to try to bring about salvific results? Are we negating the Holy Spirit's work with our lack of love, lack of sacrifice and our disobedience and trying to "be Christian" without the power of the Holy Spirit? Not trying to be argumentative...just some honest questions I've been wondering about. What are your thoughts?

Shane Vander Hart said...

Lara,

Good questions. I wrestle with that too. I suppose it would depend on what you mean by "watered down" and "seeker-driven" (for instance I see seeker-sensitive as being completely different from being seeker-driven. I would consider my church to be seeker-sensitive, but not seeker-driven).

Ultimately when it comes to evangelism, the Holy Spirit is the evangelist. Far too often I have tried to share Christ without an open door or invitation with ineffective results.

If you look at Acts 2:42 - you see the Church being the Church. They were passionate, they were devoted to Christ and to one another. They honored Christ above all else, and it was attractive - never before had anyone seen a community such as this. So to your original question - I would say probably not, but I also don't want to negate the work that some of the churches are doing because I believe that God is using them.

Thanks for your comment!

Shane Vander Hart said...

Noah,

Cool, got to give a shout out to my favorite barber. My sister! She works at Hairy's in Altoona (ask for Stephanie Bartels), but she normally cuts my hair in her kitchen!

Shane

Recovering said...

Shane - I had a similar reaction to the article...sad but not surprising.

Church People - can't live with 'em...pass the beer nuts.