Current running theme. It’s up to us. It’s up to me. DO SOMETHING. Anything, but do something. My favorite quote that has stuck with me for months and months since I originally finished this book is what starts this chapter –
The world can no longer be left to mere diplomats, politicians and business leaders. They have done the best they could, no doubt. But this is an age for spiritual heroes – a time for men and women to be heroic in their faith and in spiritual character and power. The greatest danger to the Christian church today is that of pitching its message too low. ~ Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines
I think it needs to be said again – the greatest danger of the church today is that of pitching its message too low. That is powerful. Here we have a running list of the dangers of the church – but no, it’s not our culture, influences of government, or extremists – it’s that we shoot too low.
The story of Rich addressing his church because they fell short of their Missions goal for the year rocked me. His bold address to the congregation that there was some “family business to take care of” made me think. It made me email our lead pastor and ask where we are as a church in our goal of Missions Faith Promises. We must be held accountable for this. If we believe in the leadership and direction of our pastors then we must get behind them and seek this promise God has made them. And if financially we’ve given what we can then we need to get on our knees and pray until what has been promised is delivered through His people.
James 1:27 – Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Simple words to read. Hard to act on. Hard to act on because we live our lives. Ours. And they’re busy and they’re messy and they’re loud. I won’t quote all of Isaiah 1:10-17 (Message version) because it’s just too long but parts absolutely rocked me to my core:
- Quit your worship charades
- I can’t stand your trivial religious games… conferences, Sabbaths, meetings
- When you put on your next prayer-performance I’ll be looking the other way
- Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody
- Say no to wrong.
- Learn to do good.
- Work for justice.
- Help the down-and-out.
- Stand up for the homeless.
- Go to bat for the defenseless.
Wow. Okay then. He was pretty clear, yes? And so with ignorance taken away, and excuses taken away. What’s left? What is our choice going to be? It’s a conscious choice at this point. We get to write the rest of the story and will stand in judgement for the path we choose. It’s not a threat, it’s not meant to make anyone feel guilty about anything they have or don’t have, have done or haven’t done. It’s simply a fact.