For Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Elmwood Park, WI
Do you think you have what it takes to be a Christ-follower? Do you think you have what it takes to be a soldier in God’s army? Do you think you have what it takes to be one whose life and ministry is devoted to serving Him? Do you think you have what it takes to be . . . a Christian? Well, if so, you’ve got a problem. A huge problem. You haven’t counted the cost. You haven’t realized how big your sin is, if you think you in any sense can do what God commands and desires from His people. That’s the problem with most of what passes for Christianity today. That’s the problem with much of what passes for Christianity even in conservative churches. That’s the problem with most of what passes for youth ministry in the vast majority of churches in our nation. That’s the problem with what passes for Christianity even among those who wish to make a career out of serving God by being employed by the Church in one capacity or another. In fact, that latter category, in which I include myself, by the way, is in the worst danger of all here. It is those who are constantly doing something that is obviously and openly “for God” that are in the greatest danger of thinking that they’re actually contributing something to their relationship with Him. It is especially easy for those whose daily work is done in relation to the Church to get their faith in God mixed up in their own work for Him. And that’s why (and by the way I’m still speaking autobiographically here) it is so easy for those who have been trained for such work to fall into anger and even despair when things happen which take that career that is supposedly devoted to God away from them. See? I’ve left everyone behind, gone to a Church college when I could have been going to a party school, studied theology and lived among people who are also desiring to “serve God,” and done all this stuff that proves I put Him first, and then it all gets taken away from me, and I end up working at Walmart. How could God do that to me after everything I’ve done for Him? How could God despise and ignore how much and how well I’ve devoted my heart to Him?