I’m constantly reminded that we as humans get caught up in such mundane, ridiculous and pointless things sometimes. I’m reminded whenever I turn on the TV to some celebrity ‘show-off’ episode. I’m reminded whenever I hear about high school relationships. I’m reminded whenever I see church politics. I’m reminded whenever I see Jerry Springer or Judge Judy or Trailer Park Boys. I’m reminded when I overhear cell phone conversations in transit stations and some middle-aged woman is reaming out her loved one on the phone. You can’t go more than a few hours lately without realizing how much we focus on the things that should probably never be thought twice of.
2 Timothy 2:23-24
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.
Tony Campolo once was speaking at some church somewhere (sorry about the lack of details) and he was talking about some need in some other country (we all get annoyed hearing the poor people and missionary pitch, admit it). He talked about it for about ten minutes and then he ended his pitch with this line:
“All this stuff is going on, and you don’t give a shit about it.”
[probably a long awkward pause here. The old ladies look at each other, little kids and immature dads giggle, the board members get ready for an emergency removal and the senior pastor is filling is five hundred dollar suit with sweat as he kicks himself for inviting this man here] he continues…
“And most of you are more concerned and are more ready to do something about me saying shit then you are with everything else I just talked about.”
I am going to steal that one day. I’ve done something similiar before. You set up your entire congregation and get them to do something that you know they all already do and then you hit them with one sentence that will make them think and cringe for a good few hours and ruin their appetite for swiss chalet after the service. Guaranteed that most people sitting in that pew were caught, caught in the trap of worrying about one word then they were about the hurting people. I’ll even bet you that half of you that saw the title of this blog were quite offended that I used the word shit and were more ready to say something or to ‘fight for what’s right’ than you have been for a long time with the homosexual down the street who is getting persecuted at work, or for the ‘uncool’ one walking in the halls of your high school, or for the poor widowed mother who can’t support her baby.The other half of you were probably excited that I was swearing because you knew how much it would offend the first half. Really, I used it to prove a point to both halves, it doesn’t really matter that much. It’s so small, it’s not a big deal. I know I’m guilty. I’ve been guilty of this over and over again. Last month I got angry because something was said from the pulpit that I didn’t agree with. I am and have been guilty of putting more time and emphasis on proving that I am right on an issue than I have serving the poor. Why do we get caught up in all this useless junk?
Life is funny that way. It’s probably the devil’s biggest ploy. If he can make us focus on petty quarrels then he doesn’t have to worry about us in the real world. If the church focuses on itself and its own problems it will never be effective with anything important. We need to be so cautious of these useless endeavors. They have the potential to make you completely ineffective (like most churches unfortunately). Most churches are so tied up with their programs and projects that they forget about the people hurting outside their walls.
the greatest obstacle to the coming of the kingdom of God is the church, preoccupied with her own existence
– bryan mclaren-
They are tied up in bake sales, building projects, Halloween and New Year’s Eve parties, prayer meetings and fast food restaurants and Starbucks. It is these things that get us tied up in the useless arguments and quarrels. When was the last time you heard of an argument about how you were going to take care of the single mother? Or how the poor should be fed? (well i’m sure it happens) We really only argue about the things WE’VE created. Buildings, worship services, sermons, bake sales and VBS programs. Not that any of these things are bad or wrong, it’s just these are the things we get caught up in. Honestly, when it comes down to it most of care more when we are offended then if a girl you don’t know gets prostituted and exploited.
It’s time we get our priorities straight. It’s time we start putting our effort and focus into the Kingdom and not our own useless rituals and self-pleasure filled programs.
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from useless rituals that lead to death and of faith in God.