By: Kyle French
Have you ever noticed how individualistic our American culture has become? Sadly, a fair amount of churches have been impacted by this time of consumer-driven mindset. Since the reception of the salvation and walk with Christ tends to be marketed as an individual’s own, our mindset tends to push out how communal and sacrificial faith is intended to be. Take for example this passage from the New Testament book of Acts, in the way it speaks about one of the original churches…
The Fellowship of the Believers (Acts 2:42-47, NLT)
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
Does this sound like the Christian faith is meant to be internalized? It may or it may not to you, but does this sound like the type of experience that would be representative of the Christian faith here in the Corridor? In Iowa? In America? There seems to be something missing, an attitude of faith that has not translated well within our American culture. While living the “American Dream,” is not bad, or in general sinful, it is just not a complete picture. So, what’s missing? Without a doubt, it’s the ability and passion to live our lives in service and sacrifice for one another, for both the unbeliever and believer alike. Which leads us to an incredible passage, which ultimately sets Christianity apart from other religions.
45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, NLT)
To be able to move away from such a daunting and damaging individualistic culture, we must bear the words of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Especially, coming off of the Easter weekend, such words as captured at Jesus’s crucifixion as these from the gospel of Luke 23:37, “They called out to him, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” Being on the other side of this historical narrative, we can be so dumbfounded at their ignorance to not see that the Messiah was right in front of their eyes. When reading this passage, it is so hard for me not to hold back shouting, “He is saving more than you can ever imagine, you dummy!” While the crucifixion itself shows that the Son was given as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, we can be reminded that the entirety of the Lord’s life and teaching perfectly represents the need for sacrificial living. With that being said, surely there is some room for improvement in our own lives to be better stewards of all that the Lord has blessed us with. Whether it is committing to a service opportunity in the community, donating hygiene items to a local shelter, really anything that can make an impact, even if its just for one person. No matter what it is, everything that exists or has existed is to be for the glory of God. And when there is an opportunity for praise for your good deeds, because people tend to take notice, lavish it upon the Lord and use it as a platform for the gospel.