16 July 2011

Restless...

This is me rambling a bit, just so you're aware.

The last few weeks have been torment for me.
It's as if I had forgotten Jesus is going to return and suddenly I remembered... and it terrifies me.
Since I claim to be a Christian, I'm supposed to be ready. And I don't feel that I am. And that in itself terrifies me even more, because then obviously I don't find Jesus as precious as He should be to me. Or maybe I don't know Him at all; maybe it's all head knowledge from a lifetime of attending church.
Perhaps there's a huge glaring sin that's separating us. Once you're God's child, sin doesn't completely cut you off from God, although it does strain the communication.
But I don't know if I'm God's child to begin with.
I 'prayed a prayer' when I was five, and then sort of renewed my commitment a couple years ago as I was beginning to understand more of what it actually meant to be a Christian. But does that count? As much as I think about pleasing God and trying to do as much as I can in obedience to His word, I feel I don't do anything... that I'm just going through the motions of life.
But what more does He want me to do today? I'm pretty sure I know what He'd like me to do in the semi-near future, but what about now? What about today? This moment? What can I do this very hour, minute, second, that will bring glory to His name, no matter if no one else notices or cares? In my daily life, how can I live it to the fullest for God?
I think the church in general has, over the years, built up this misconception that the only way you can serve God is to go live in the remote jungles of Africa and preach to an entire tribal group that formerly participated in witchcraft and cannibalism and human sacrifice. And it makes everyone who God hasn't called to that sort of thing feel either 'less Christian' or free to sit on the couch and watch televangelists all day while other people do the 'dirty work.'
Nobody makes note of the fact that the mission field is all around us. That God can call you to be an accountant or something and still serve Him by doing that while at the same time being open about your faith and reflecting Christ to your spiritually-lost family, friends, and neighbours. Because the church seems to have decided that this sort of thing isn't important, I and everybody else have no idea where to start glorifying God in our normal daily routines. And that's a tragedy really.
What was that Jesus said? 'Go into all the world and make disciples of all men.' All men. Not just the remote tribesmen of Africa or India or Central America somewhere. All men, in all the world -- including first-world countries like Canada and the US.
But we feel unequipped for that. We had led ourselves to believe that you must be special and have been visited by an angel in order to do any mission work. (This just occurred to me... why do we want an angel to tell us to do this when Jesus Himself gave the command? Who has greater authority than Jesus to give such a command? Answer: no one. The big guy Himself, if you will, told us to do this. So hop to it. (This applies to me and everyone else, by the way.))
And this ties in to the other part of my fear.
I have many unsaved relatives and a few unsaved friends. The difficulty is, most of them would, if asked, call themselves Christians because most of them, at some point in time, did attend church. How can you show them they may not be Christians after all? I can't even know that for sure... maybe they are. Maybe if they died, they would end up in Heaven. But maybe they aren't, and maybe they would end up in Hell, forsaken by God for eternity (Think about that a minute. Eternity -- literally forever, no end, no 'undo' button).
The less spiritual fruit you see in their lives, the more you worry about their eternal destiny... and the more likely they are to be offended if you broach the subject. You want to avoid being hypocritical, especially when you yourself are struggling with a number of things, but you also genuinely worry about the condition of their soul. If Jesus came right now, where would they end up? And would He look at me and say, 'I gave you a chance to show Myself to them. Why didn't you?'
How can you answer that?
You can't just walk up to them and start preaching at them. They'd never speak to you again. But you also can't just stay silent because you have no idea how long they have and you really do want them to end up in Heaven.
There's this old Larry Norman song that talks about Christ's return. One line says 'I wish we'd all been ready...' and that's been my thought for the past couple of weeks. I want everyone in the world to be ready. I don't really have a lot of enemies, but even if I did, I wouldn't want them in Hell either.  Jesus told a parable about a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus (not the one He rose from the dead -- that guy was real). Lazarus sat outside the rich man's gate and begged for bread, but the rich man never helped him. When they both died, Lazarus, because he trusted in God, went to Heaven. The rich man, because he didn't know Jesus, went to Hell.
And as the rich man was tormented in Hell, he saw Lazarus enjoying Heaven with other people who had followed God and he pleaded with Lazarus and Abraham to help him. They said they couldn't -- the rich man had had his whole life to make his choice and now he was stuck with it. Then the rich man begged them to send someone to Earth to tell his brothers to avoid Hell at all costs. And Abraham said, 'There are people on Earth who know Jesus. Your brothers must listen to them. Because if they won't listen to the Christians, they won't believe someone who's risen from the dead either.' (This is all paraphrased... find the official version of the parable in Luke chapter 16 verses 19-31.)
You know, that's us. We are the Christians that the rich man's brothers need to listen to. They can't listen if we leave the job to somebody else because eventually we're going to run out of 'somebody elses.' Notice how the rich man didn't say 'Woo-hoo, I'm the first one here for the big party in Hell!' He pleaded that his brothers would be warned so they could avoid this terrible place. Misery does not love company in the case of Hell.
So we owe it to all the lost who have already died to let as many people as possible know what they're heading for and that there is an alternative. We can't force them to make the decision of course, but we can give them as much information as we can and love them as God does.
And pray.
Maybe sometimes that's all we can do. But maybe sometimes God asks us to do more, and we have to do it.

Don't think I'm preaching at anyone reading this. I'm not. I'm just trying to sort of my own thoughts. (That's why it probably seems to go off on half-thought-out tangents. Also, it's very likely that I didn't explain something as well as I could have, or that I've got something completely the wrong way. Check this against the Bible if you've any doubts or questions.)

If I could have one wish
I know just what I'd like to find
If I could have one dream
Come true before my eyes
More than a pot of gold
More than a pathway to the stars
More than anything I know
I want Jesus in your heart
      ~ Connie Scott, Jesus In Your Heart
(from Spirit Mover; Image 7 Records, 1985. The song is on iTunes here.)

2 comments:

Brittney said...

Speaking as some one who also is not called to mission work (at least not for now...) the key is to make peace with what God is calling you to. God's kingdom is like an ant colony in that we would die if everyone tried to do the same job. For me, that's encouraging people through music, and when I try to explain this to other people, sometimes I can tell by their response that they think I should be out doing mission work (since I'm a young woman and all young people are called to missions work in a lot of church goer's minds). But God's plan is perfect, so if you feel really called to something, follow it no matter what they say.

Another thought: there's only one "somebody else" who matters- God. Even when you help some one to see Jesus, it's God working through you, not you being a "successful" Christian. I think we forget that too easily...

Qzie said...

I totally get where you're coming from. But yeah, God's not going to put every single Christian into the mission field because everybody has different gifts. The point of having those gifts is using them to serve Him.
As for actually being saved, as long as you've prayed the prayer and follow what God says, then I don't think you need to worry too much. :)