Good day all, a brother shared this with me and I cant help but share with you also. THE PROBLEM WITH CHRISTIANS I was born into a Christian home and my worldview is decidedly Christian. I had always considered myself a true Christian in the truest sense of the word until I had an encounter sometimes ago with Ayo Arogbo (a pastor with Glory Christian Ministries, Lagos) that left me wondering to date if I am truly what I claim to be. If the Christian life is a race, assume you have run this race following the rules and have finished your course. In other words, you won the race. What then will be your reward? This is probably the most important question any serious Christian should answer. Interestingly, irrespective of denominational affiliation or doctrinal beliefs, every Christian accepts that if you are successful in the Christian race your prize is eternal life. This is so fundamental that I will be surprised if you are not surprised at its simplicity and universal acceptance. Now if we all agree that the prize for the race is eternal life, the bigger question then should be, how do I run the race to win the prize? Interestingly this question too is answered very clearly in the New Testament. In Matthew 19:21 Jesus’ answer is very revealing. Keep all the laws and you will have eternal life. The man that asked the question replied he had done that from birth what else did he lack? Now Jesus’ answer is “IF YOU WANT TO BE PERFECT, go sell all you have and give to the poor. Then come follow me.” Jesus’ answer was consistent throughout the Gospels. Perhaps the only time he answered a different way was when Nicodemus asked in John 3, and there Jesus laid the principle of being born again. So if we combine all of these together this is what we get: To run the race well and win, you must first be born again then you must give to the poor. It is pretty straight forward but somehow I lost it. I want to do the more complex things. In Matthew 25, Jesus in no uncertain terms describes the prize giving ceremony for the Christian race. He gives a few very interesting criteria : I was hungry you fed me not, I was in prison you visited me not, I was a stranger and you never took me in. It all boils down to one thing you were not kind to the poor and the weak. That is the reason you missed the mark and the prize. Did you notice what he didn’t mention? He didn’t mention your 40-day fast, tithe or offerings. He didn’t mention your contribution to the church building project. He didn’t mention your contribution to the satellite tv ministry. Not that these things are not important – after all your offerings will be used to reach the prisoner and the motherless babies. If we must take Jesus’ word then this taking care of the poor is the basic rule for running the race. Let me flip the coin. In Luke 13:26 Jesus further describes the prize giving day for the Christian race. Here some religious people gave their reason why they should win – we partook in the Holy Communion and sat under anointed teachings. But Jesus says this is not sufficient reason. In Matthew 7:21, when some others confronted him with their spiritual works – we cast out demons in your name, and did many mighty miracles, Jesus didn’t say they didn’t do it. He didn’t say they used magic to do the miracles. He simply said they were not doing the will of the Father. So what is this will of the Father? James 1:27 answers perfectly: External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world. (Amplified) If God places such a high premium on helping the poor and needy why do I and maybe most other Christians put it on the back burner. Why do we do it only during Christmas and Easter seasons? As if the poor will not eat on other days? Take a look around you, magnificent church buildings sit next to dilapidated public schools. Our church owned schools are more expensive than individual owned schools. It is just as if we are trying hard to scheme the poor out of good education. Yet that is the surest way to lift them out of poverty. Ephesians 4:28 Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. The primary reason people steal is because they don’t have. But this verse of the bible puts a powerful twist on that. Paul in this teaching encourages the thief to work not so that he will have but so that he can give to the needy. In other words giving to the needy is more important than your having. That is the problem with my Christianity. I am selfish. Everything has to be about me. That is why my prayer points are just what they are. I have come to measure the successful Christian life as one that is rich, blessed with a new car, a powerful testimony of breakthrough, a wonderful spouse etc. I believe God rewards those who are running the race well with these things so I want them too and work hard to get them so it can be the proof of my faithfulness in running this Christian race. Friends these things are good, but they are not the proof of God’s faithfulness or your sincerity in the Christian race. The last time I checked the list of top five richest men in the world only one was a Christian, two were either agnostic (believe that it can’t be proved if God exists or not) or atheist and the other two were Hindus. But they all are philanthropists – giving to the poor and needy. They are not philanthropists because they are rich, I believe they are rich because they are philanthropists. You can justify taking your family out to cinema and spending a meager N15,000 for that Sunday outing. Yet on your street, is a poor child that is thrown out of school because her parents couldn’t pay N2,500. I am not saying you shouldn’t enjoy your money, I am only pointing out the problem with my Christianity and maybe yours. You can buy that handbag at a whooping N50,000 (you earned it and you should look good) but the girl living with you cannot write JAMB because you wouldn’t give her N5,000. That is the problem with my Christianity and maybe yours. You can take the children of the permanent secretary to a vacation or buy them expensive gifts from Disney land, because their parents can do same for your children, but you cannot take the little son of your mai-guard to Silverbird or to any park, because his father cannot do it for your children. That is the problem with my Christianity and maybe yours. May God in his infinite mercies help us all. You were born in a first class hospital, i was born at home - but we are all living. You woke up from bed, i woke up from mat on the floor - we all had a good night sleep. You drink Champagne, i drink palmie we all got drunk. You eat fried rice, i eat my garri-we all got full. You dress in imported suits and Gucci, i dress in gara die and country cloths - we all cover our nudity. You drive Hummer or Range Sport, I use Okada - we all reach ourdestination. You are reading this from your iPhone or Samsung s5, i wrote my post using Nokia Asha 201 - we are all reading this post.Why should i kill myself? Why should i commit suicide? Life is not a competition.Lets learn to take life easy and be as we are, we will live longer and stronger! Appreciate life itself even if its not a bed of roses. Contentment is not fulfilment of what you wish for, but appreciation of what you have. Happy new year ..Love You and God bless us All. Amen!
Posted on: Tue, 06 Jan 2015 07:37:37 +0000
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