By: Danny Wallace
Our conversations are windows to our souls. This is never truer than when we think we are witnessing our faith. A while back I decided to take some time to pay more attention to the conversations that were going on around me. I took special note of those that involved any form of what the participants considered to be “a witness for God.” Ironically, within almost every conversation there was one key word missing. Actually, it is more than a word – it is the name above all others. I heard very little about Jesus.
I heard talk of new projects, and talk of hope that someone could leave their blue-collar job and finally become an Associate Pastor. I heard about the honor of teaching Sunday School, and talk of wanting to write a book about the false teachers who are leading people astray with their message of “hyper-grace,” whatever that is.
I heard about needing to raise money to go on a mission trip to Haiti, to snatch the lost from the bowels of Hell, and I heard more than a few prophetic words about…well, to be completely honest with you, I’m not sure exactly what they were about. What I noted in all of these conversations is that the name of Jesus was strangely absent.
This left me to wonder, “With all that we are building today, do we really need Jesus?” It is a rare thing to even sit in a church service anymore where the opportunity is given to come and meet Jesus as Lord and Savior. Maybe that’s because in what we are building we don’t believe that carries much weight anyway. After all, the very phrase, “hyper-grace” indicates a growing distain for the precious gift that Jesus would not allow us to take even an ounce of credit for – lest we should boast of our involvement.
Let’s face it – we have a formula for everything. We are educated and well funded. We have the best of technology at the tip of our fingers and we have talent extraordinaire! We know how to fill the seats, and “once they are filled,” we have no problem name-dropping the most famous name in all of history to insure that they stay filled. We bait the people with the famous name of Jesus to pack the house, but soon people discover that we have a different plan that doesn’t really involve Him at all
Today, the same as it was when Jesus came to bring us this most treasured gift of Grace; we are firmly planted high on the seat of Moses. Our conversations point to “our” ministries, “our” books, “our” seminars, and sadly, ”our” churches.
They belong to us. We built them. Within their walls you will discover a well-defined mandate. We tip our hats to the sacrifice of Jesus as necessary to clean our “sin slate” up to a point some 2000 years ago, but the “cleaning” ends there. WE have taken it from there.
We will justify and profess to redeem ourselves, and all others within our realm of influence, by our high ideals and moral platitudes. We will lord over the weak and broken, and find honor in giving the finer seats within our tabernacles to our most capable contributors.
We will declare from the seat of Moses exactly what our “god” hates, and of whom, he approves. Make no mistake about it, that little angry fella’ doesn’t approve of much.
Listen to the conversations going on around you today. You will discover that there is an uneasy void of the sweetest name in what we are building. This is odd indeed, since “Jesus” is all we really have.