Ken Ansell | Special to the Daily Light
When I was a kid I worked at a grocery store and I sacked groceries. Back in the day we used real, brown paper sacks and we carried out your groceries, we put them in the trunk, we closed the trunk and we said, “Thank you.”
One of our other duties was to fill up the Coke machine. Sometimes I would throw a Big Red in the Dr Pepper slot just to be funny. Have you ever selected the button so a Sprite would pop out and quench your thirst only to have an orange Crush drop? I have and it’s really not funny — especially if that was your last 50 cents or whatever sodas cost in a Coke machine in 2021.
I wonder if that’s how some feel about the modern, mainstream church. In other words, it’s not really what it is supposed to be?
I’m a big fan of Acts 2:42-47. We see the church committed to the Lord, I mean they were hard core and not lukewarm. This commitment to Jesus emerged in a commitment to the Red Letters, to hanging out with each other, to being people of prayer, the remembrance of the Lord’s Supper, being generous, eating together, they were people of praise, they were glad hearted people, they lived sacrificial lives giving to those in need, they were unified. The result of this commitment to Christ spilled out into the streets.
What I’m saying is in verse 43 it says, “And awe came upon every soul, …” Verse 47 says the community gave them “favor” and the real fruit of the commitment to God is found in the last part of verse 47, “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Boom!
I know I’m old, tired and too often too cynical but this is not what I see in most churches (Christians) today. Commitment is almost a forgotten word in our culture as a whole. I mean half of all marriages end in divorce (marriage can be hard and I get that). We are no longer loyal to the company we work for and the company is also no longer loyal to us. Half of these crazy, sad Hallmark Christmas movies have someone who is engaged to one person that leaves that person for the latest hotdish who owns a bookstore or bakery. Follow your heart, they say, believe in destiny, blah, blah, blah. All of this leaves me shaking my head.
Most churches are in decline (numerically, financially and spiritually). Somewhere around 5,000 churches close their doors every year (last one out turn off the lights). You would think we would all be Chicken Little and be screaming at the top of our lungs, “The sky is falling.” But we aren’t. They asked someone if they were complacent and apathetic to which they replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care.” Is that where we are at as followers of Christ? I’m just asking for a friend.
Only God adds to the church, so we are dependent on Him but I think if we were making good on our commitment we might see our unchurched neighbors, friends and family take notice of us as they did Peter and John in Acts 4:13. I could be wrong because I’ve been wrong several times this year but I think this commitment could create curiosity and a receptivity in people so that as we invite them to come they will, “Taste and see that the Lord is good:” and learn “blessed are those who take refuge in Him (Psalm 34:8).” Isn’t that what we want for people? A relationship with Christ that is blessed?! He told me to tell you that.