An Inconvenient Faith
by Mike Giffin
How important is your relationship with God? I think that most people who profess to be Christians would answer, “Very important.” That’s the politically correct answer, right? But if we are pressed on the issue and asked, “Why is your relationship with God important, and give examples of how you are ‘living out your faith’,” what would we say?
Sometimes I can’t help but feel that there is a disconnect between what we claim to believe and how we live our lives. And if we stop and really think about it, in our heart of hearts, we know that this is true. If most of us are honest with ourselves, we will admit that worshipping God and serving the Church are not high priorities in our lives. They are something that we do on Sundays - if we’re not too exhausted from the previous week’s activities (work, school, sports, chores, etc.) or if we don’t have other plans (football games, golf, going to the lake, etc.). Attending Church might be on our mental “To-Do” list, but when we throw it into the mix of our weekly obligations or weigh it against “fun-things”, God and Church can be…well…inconvenient.
I think that if the truth be known, most of us want and settle for a “comfortable Christianity.” We want a God who will be there for us in times of need. And these are the times when we turn to Him. Likewise, we want a God who will bless us by giving us happy lives, better relationships, good health and financial security. We want a God who is of service to us. But once we have God’s blessings and life is going good, we’re content to go it alone. God? Church?…That’s inconvenient.
The disconnect is evident when we look at how we support the Church. God calls us to reach out to those outside the Church and help them to come and be the people of God. That is the Great Commission. Do we do that? Do we get out of our “comfort zone” and get involved with evangelism? Do we make the effort and take the initiative to invite people into a relationship with Jesus? Or do we expect our pastors to do the work of evangelism for us? Do we think evangelism is their responsibility…That’s inconvenient.
What about our support of children’s ministries? We want and need vibrant Sunday school classes and activities which will help each of our children to develop a relationship with Christ and grow in their faith. But how many of us are willing to teach a children’s Sunday school class? How many of us volunteer and get involved with Vacation Bible School? How many of us have the attitude, “I helped in children’s ministry years ago, it’s someone else’s responsibility now!” Really? I’m not aware of any statute of limitations on our obligation to serve and I can’t believe that God is impressed with our lack of support in this vital ministry. Serving God by supporting children’s ministries?…That’s inconvenient.
Lest you think that I am calling people out or being critical of their commitment to their faith, I am criticizing myself as well. I am part of “we” and “us.” I know that I can do more to serve God. We all can. Are we people who at times feel inconvenienced and merely want a “comfortable Christianity?” The line forms behind me…
Being a Christian is not easy. At one time when I was much younger, I believed that if I were a “good Christian,” God would be on my side and life would be easy. But there’s no guarantee of that. Just look at the bible. Every person in the bible who God called upon for some special purpose, or who was called to follow Jesus, faced trials and hardships. Their faith in God and the kingdom work God called them to do was a major inconvenience in their lives. Still, it was worth it. The promise of eternal life and being in a real relationship with God made it all worthwhile.
I want to embrace my inconvenient faith. Anything of value requires work and sacrifice. Jesus told us that we should give up ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. I want to do that. I want my relationship with God to count for something. I want it to be of value to me and to God. I want to be a follower of Christ and serve Him and Church. As a Christian, I want to make a difference and follow God’s calling in my life. I want all of this - even when it’s inconvenient…
What about you?