This is another article that I wrote back in June 2009. It still challenges me each time I read it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Christianity is not much more than a hobby.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I love God.
At least, I love the God that fits into my comfortable, safe, materialistic sense of reality.
And I have given my life to Jesus.
Well, most of it!
And I try to read my Bible everyday. Although, I do tend to skim over the bits that challenge me.
You know… the bits that say things like “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” and “pure and genuine religion means caring for orphans and widows…”
But, lately… it’s been some of those bits that have really started to irritate me.
I’ve begun to realise that being a follower of Christ brings with it certain uncomfortable demands.
Like, a call to missions!
Jesus said, “Go into all the world… and preach the Gospel… and make disciples…”
And the problem is… I don’t think He was giving me a choice.
It’s not exactly like Jesus was saying, “Ivan… if you’re not too tired, and if you’ve got nothing better to do, would you mind going into the world for me and preach the Gospel?”
And yet… that’s exactly how I’ve lived my life… like I have a choice. Like I can do missions whenever I feel like it… when it suits me.
Like it’s a hobby!
But, apparently, I’ve got it wrong.
It seems that when I became a follower of Christ, I was really signing up to a life of absolute submission and obedience to Christ.
(I really should have read the fine print first!)
Which means that I was signing up to missions… signing up to a life completely committed to reaching people!!!
And that’s the problem with Jesus…
He doesn’t care about my money… or my position… or my denomination… or my building project… or the latest hot promotion that’s supposed to make us top 3 in the market…
… not nearly as much as He cares about people!
And it seems that He expects the same of me!!!
And it’s not just some people… like the one’s in church on Sunday, or the one’s with good morals, or the one’s with similar tastes and interests to me, or the one’s that think I’m wonderful, or the one’s who love my ministry.
It’s grotty, foul people as well, like the creature that just raped a 6 year old kid, and the man who just beat his wife.
It’s the kid in Africa who’s so hungry that she’s probably better off dead than alive. It’s the single mum who’s struggling to cope. It’s atheists and homosexuals and people that I’ve hurt and the people who have hurt me.
It’s people like Linda, and Valerie, and Steve, and John, and Cath, and every other widow and orphan who desperately needs someone to remind them that they are loved.
So… missions is not a hobby! Missions is really about life and death… about hell and salvation.
It’s about people… a lot of people!!
I read an article recently. It said that the world’s population grows by more than 80,000,000 people every year. That’s more than 219,000 people EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!
Which forces me to ask some really uncomfortable questions.
Like… if I’m NOT living a life committed to missions, then what the hell AM I doing?
And how can I call myself a follower of Christ?
And how dare I NOT give my time, my talents, my money… when my orders are to serve, to love, to feed, to connect someone to Christ?!?
How dare I treat missions like a hobby… when there is so much at stake?!?
How dare I…?
I’ll let you know when the movie is over!