Just Letting Off a Little Steam
by Charles Cherry
I just need to post a quick note to get this off my chest. I don’t know if anyone will ever read this, but it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m supposed to be working on my papers for class this Thursday, so this will be short.
I just came home from church. It was great. Really, no sarcasm. I love our church. We just started a new fall emphasis, called “Count Me In,” in which we will be focusing on the four core values of our fellowship:
Today we focused on “Gather,” and Eddie preached a great sermon on the necessity of gathering regulary with other Christians for worship, teaching, etc.
So why do I need to let off some steam? Because I am upset at how much money our church, and so many others in America, spend on “creating a great experience.” I know our church must have invested thousands of dollars in this four-week emphasis, what with all the flyers, promo items, etc. The American church spends billions of dollars every year on buildings, programs, staff, etc.
What’s wrong with that, you ask? What’s wrong with spending billions of dollars on ourselves so that we can create a great worship experience for ourselves, and make an inviting atmosphere so that the un-churched will be drawn in, and made to feel comfortable?
I guess there is nothing wrong with it, except that while we are spending billions on ourselves, we have family members who are starving to death, who are suffering from disease and malnutrition, who lack clean, safe, drinking water, and who consider it an unaffordable luxury just to own one bible.
Not only do we have millions of family members in these desparate conditions, but there are hundred of millions more around the world who have never even heard the Good News of God’s salvation, and who are also suffering from hunger, thirst, and disease.
Right now I know where hundreds, thousands even, of Christians are suffering starvation because of a rat-plague-induced famine. Do we hear about this in the news? Are we reminded of our duty to our brothers and sisters in need on Sunday mornings? Do we receive fancy emails from our church leadership telling us of our duty to provide for those who are in need? How much money is spent raising awareness of the “experience” of these starving villagers?
I hope that when we get to weeks three and four that our church leadership will really emphasize our sacred duty to not just give to the needy, but to really take care of them holistically, just like we would if they were our own family members living in our own homes.
While we in America keep investing billions in our buildings, our programs, our staff, and our “worship experience,” the Body of Christ keeps suffering and dying all around us.
How can God be happy with this?
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
and the writers who keep writing oppression,
to turn aside the needy from justice
and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
that widows may be their spoil,
and that they may make the fatherless their prey!
What will you do on the day of punishment,
in the ruin that will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help,
and where will you leave your wealth?
Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners
or fall among the slain.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.
P.S. If you are reading this and feeling a little guilty, then good.
Do something about it!
What are you waiting for?