The church has always been influenced by culture, which is not always a bad thing. As Don Miller points out, we have followed the leading institutions of the day. In the Middle Ages, the church was lead by the king, whoever would agree with the king could lead the church. After that, we went in the direction of the university, the way of industry, and currently are under the influence of the corporation. Don Miller talks about this better than I can in his DVD lecture “Free Market Jesus”, and this post is really just a thought on what he has already said.
Where did we get the idea that we must be “profitable for the Kingdom”? What does that even mean? Why do we view Jesus as a miracle product, a cure-all?
I think the marketing in America has shifted our view of Jesus, and the church is doing little to take us back to the Bible. Biblically, Jesus never promised to relieve our rough lives, to grant us prosperity, or to make sure we are never sick. He instead told us that our lives would be hard, we may not get rich, and we may have to live with sickness. And all this if we are living life well. He did promise us that He would be with us no matter our struggles. He promised us Himself only.
I think this is the beautiful part of trusting Christ. It makes us trust that we will be fine struggling to pay bills, find joy in a distressing sickness, and love our rough lives. We don’t have to worry that we aren’t doing something right because our lives aren’t easy. We trust in grace, knowing that it’s never about what we do wrong, but it is, always has been and always will be, about love.
This is hard for me to trust and believe. When I’m reminded of it, my heart swells with joy and gratitude.
I think if we, the church, can keep this in mind, America, and the world, could be a beautiful place.
God, remind us of your grace and love. We desperately need reminders.