bad church, believers advancing God's work, called to grow, Christianity is like a football game, coaching, engaged in ministry, good church, Iranian taxi driver, Jackie Robinson, Jesus challenged status quo, John Wimber, Manhattan, onlookers cause problems, problems in Christianity, religion, spectator sport, wasting your life
It has been said that much of Christianity can be compared to a football game. The twenty-two players on the field are in dire need of rest and 100,000 spectators in the stands in dire need of exercise.
Jesus wants all of His disciples to be engaged in His ministry of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth. That’s why He sent out the 12 in Luke 9:1 and why he will send out 72 in Luke 10. They were supposed to combine good deeds with the good news.
This is why most of the problems in Christianity are not from those on the field, but from the spectators. The ones advancing God’s work receive coaching and correction… and occasionally disqualify themselves. The onlookers make a lot of claims, make a lot of noise and create a lot of confusion. Since they are not officially on the team, coaching and correction doesn’t help.
Once we come to believe in Christ as Savior, we can’t stay in that place. We are called to grow in the Lord. Most, if not all of the disciple’s growth came because Jesus challenged their spiritual status-quo. Their faith was never allowed to stagnate. It would be like being born and staying an infant our entire life.
It is when we stop growing in the Lord that problems begin to develop.
- We stop viewing the world from God’s perspective.
- We begin to falsely assume we have arrived spiritually.
- We neglect to discern the will of the Lord.
- And we falsely believe we have done enough.
Below is a story about John Wimber attempting to witness to a New York taxi driver and the frustration which follows. I believe there is an important lesson for all believers at the end. I purposefully removed the denominational names.
“Years ago in New York City, I got into a taxi cab with an Iranian taxi driver, who could hardly speak English. I tried to explain to him where I wanted to go, and as he was pulling his car out of the parking place, he almost got hit by a van that on its side had a sign reading The __________ Church. He got real upset and said, “That guy’s drunk.” I said, “No, he’s a ___________. Drunk in the spirit, maybe, but not with wine.” He asked, “Do you know about church?” I said, “Well, I know a little bit about it; what do you know?”
It was a long trip from one end of Manhattan to the other, and all the way down he told me one horror story after another that he’d heard about the church. He knew about the pastor that ran off with the choir master’s wife, the couple that had burned the church down and collected the insurance—every horrible thing you could imagine. We finally get to where we were going, I paid him, and as we’re standing there on the landing I gave him an extra-large tip. He got a suspicious look in his eyes—he’d been around, you know.
I said, “Answer me this one question.” Now keep in mind, I’m planning on witnessing to him. “If there was a God and he had a church, what would it be like?” He sat there for awhile making up his mind to play or not. Finally he sighed and said, “Well, if there was a God and he had a church—they would care for the poor, heal the sick, and they wouldn’t charge you money to teach you the Book.” I turned around and it was like an explosion in my chest. “Oh, God.” I just cried, I couldn’t help it. I thought, “Oh Lord, they know. The world knows what it’s supposed to be like. The only ones that don’t know are the Church.”