The Question I Now Ask
How Do Make Life About God (Not Me)?
I am sitting in church listening to a sermon from R.T. Kendall. He is the former Senior Pastor of Westminster Chapel in central London. He retired in 2002 after 25 years.
He asked the question, “What happened to the Gospel?”
He went on, “If you were not a Christian and were listening to the sermons of the preachers today, you would think the Gospel is about prosperity, health, and wealth. This preaching is no longer about God; it is about us. We don't serve God. He serves us.”
What Do I Get?
Then Kendall said, “The question we are asking ourselves when it comes to God is, ‘What’s in it for me?’”
This got me thinking about other questions I ask myself from time to time.
- Why go to church on Sunday?
- Why go through the trouble of getting the kids ready?
- Why should I attend a Grace@Work Bible study group?
- Why should I be a table host at the High Tech Prayer Breakfast?
- Why should I share my faith with my friend?
I can see now how churches have turned into marketing organizations. They speak to me first. They work hard to reach me where I am. And their message has settled into my subconscious.
I know, because when I am asked to do something for God, I find myself struggling. I’m asking myself, “Is this my market? Is the work consistent with my calling? Does this match my spiritual gifts? Am I qualified?” In effect, I’m asking, “What's in it for me?”
Do I Need Jesus?
Kendall was speaking on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther and the Reformation (October 31, 2017). He said, “The question being asked by society back then was, ‘Am I saved?’ The question being asked today is, ‘Do I need to be saved?’”
Wow! I think he’s right. That is the question people are asking? It was the question I was asking before I became desperate enough to know I needed saving.
Our Society’s Extra Step
There is an extra step our society seems to have inserted in the process. First I need to be convinced I am a sinner separated by God. And only after being convinced of that will I entertain the question, “Am I saved?”
He was right. The question has changed. It is now about me, a man who is in control of my destiny. “Why do I need to be saved? What’s in it for me? I seem to be doing fine.”
So what does the church preach to attract those of us who are asking the question, “Do I need to be saved?” Preach a better life now. “With God, you can be richer, more successful, and healthier than you ever thought possible. That’s what's in it for you.”
Lose Your Life
Yet Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, you will pick up your cross and follow me. If you try to save your life, you will lose it. However, if you lose your life for me and the Gospel, you will be saved. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his very soul.”
Having thought about this for a while, the question I am now asking myself is, “How do I make my life all about God and not me?”
Charlie Paparelli is president of High Tech Ministries, angel investor and blogger. Twice each week email subscribers to his blog receive his thoughts on being a successful entrepreneur and Christian leader.