Low Commitment Christians
By: Jim O'Brien
The term frequently used to describe members of the 21st Century Church is "low commitment Christians". The age of the consumer that seeks to give the least and receive the most sometimes finds its way to church. It's not a concept one can find in the teaching of Christ.
There's a growing trend that views Christ as offering forgiveness but not requiring repentance. It's a sort of Christian welfare message that appeals to the person that is not willing to commit. You don't have to get married but you can live together. You don't have to tithe but you can receive the benefits of those who do. You don't have to worship the way God commanded if it's not convenient.
When Jesus was facing the most difficult trial of His life, knowing there were few opportunities left to teach the disciples, He said to them, "You call me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet" (John 13:13-14).
Jesus offered two of the most basic concepts of leadership. First He did not shrink from identifying Himself as their leader and second He demonstrated that service is the key to true leadership.
It's interesting that the ministry of Jesus Christ occurred during the days of the Caesars. Julius Caesar had reigned little more than 60 years before Jesus taught. Why did Jesus NOT refer to Himself as Caesar?
The term Caesar had been passed down through the generations in one form or another. In Russia leaders were given the title Tsar and Germany called them Kaiser. Both come from the word Caesar which meant Emperor in the European medieval sense of the term. He was a ruler who had the same rank as a Roman or Byzantine emperor or, according to Byzantine ideology, the most elevated position adjacent to the one held by the monarch.
Now America has Czars. The first modern American Czar was appointed by President Richard Nixon in 1973 in an effort to solve the energy crisis. His attempt to control the crisis caused a fuel shortage that led to long gas lines.
William Simon the first "energy czar" tells a story of his title. "President Nixon announced to the cabinet that I was to have 'absolute authority' and compared the job he was giving me with the role that Albert Speer played in the Third Reich when he was put in charge of German armaments." Simon confessed to being a bit uncomfortable about being likened to the Nazi Minister of Armaments and War Production.
Man has a legitimate need for skilled leaders and an instinctive fear of tyrants.
Jesus once chastised the leaders of His day for being self-serving. "Everything they do is done for people to see...they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called 'Rabbi' by others." (Matt. 23:5-6)
That is the way Czars want to be treated! Not Christians!
"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant (Matt. 23:8-11).
Czars rule for their own benefit; Christians serve. That's the difference.
The best way for America to avoid being ruled by a Caesar is to serve Jesus as our Master.
Until next time,
Pastor, Church of God Cincinnati
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