What's in it for me?
We live in an age of me-first consumerism.
The attitude of most of us is this: I guess I'll try that for awhile, see if I like it. If it doesn't zing me, I'm gone. A job. A spouse. A neighborhood. A church.
Gotta have that newest technology. We stand in line all night for tickets so we can be first. We love two-for-one, something for nothing, and trading spouses.
Unfortunately, the church seems to be moving in the same direction, using the same appeal. "Come on in and get your donuts and coffee. Hang around and chat til you absolutely HAVE to go into the sanctuary. Load up on food, find a comfy seat, and observe the show."
So you settle in and begin the assessment: Worship band's a little loud today...Guy in front of me is too fat to see around...Sermon didn't tell me anything I didn't know...It's a little too hot/cold/dark/bright. Forget the offering, I didn't get my money's worth today. But, I might be back next week--if I don't have something else going on.
Week after week it goes on. No commitment. No responsibility. It's all about ME.
And the church is often caught up in encouraging that self-worship with subtle messages like, "Church isn't so bad, try ours! Look how entertaining our services are. We don't ask ANYTHING of you, neither does God. He's just glad you're here. Good for you for showing up. We just hope you'll 'get something' out of the service."
REALLY? I'd love to find that verse in scripture. What I find instead are rebukes from Jesus himself as he quoted Isaiah the prophet: "‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce..." (Matt. 15: 8-9)
Sometimes we focus so hard on the truth that salvation is free, Jesus paid it all, by grace are we saved, that our theology becomes lopsided. We focus on God's responsibility to man and ignore man's responsibility to God. If that was all there was to it, the Bible would be a pamphlet.
God is not one more avenue of consumption. He requires His people to strive for holiness, like He is holy. We do Him no favors by our token religious activities. He is not interested in our half-hearted attempts to appease Him.
We begin our journey out of consumer-Christianity when we finally realize: It's not about ME.