Is there such a thing as no cost Christianity? I’m starting to think that much of what we call Christianity in our culture today is something significantly less than Christianity. As I sit to write this post, I’m in a coffee shop in central Ohio. I’m listening to music through the shop’s sound system but that’s just for ambiance. The real thing is the conversations around me. I’m curious, intrigued, and slightly appalled at the same time.
The guys sitting beside me are talking openly about Jesus which is pretty cool stuff, but there is some complaining going on. They’re talking about their church and the uncomfortable nature of how the pandemic was handled. Now I’m not getting into details here but I want us to think for a minute about the things that cause us to complain.
We complain about the temperature in the building or the volume of the music. We draw lines in the sand over preaching style and what people wear to worship services. We’ve become massively divided around issues of capacity, distancing and mask usage. And I fear this is only going to get worse. And while I have an opinion about all of these matters, none of it really matters. These are not “cost of Christianity” kind of issues.
The bible says that we’re supposed to take up our cross and follow Jesus. That doesn’t suffer some slight inconvenience on a Sunday to be in worship for an hour. It’s not putting up with a subpar praise team or out of tune choir. Taking up our cross is more. Much more.
Another conversation I’m listening to at the moment is about the situation in Afghanistan. There are American helicopters lifting Christians above Kabul with a noose around their necks and hanging them just for being Christians. The forces that have overtaken the city are going door to door confiscating phones and if you’re caught with a Bible app or even pages of a Bible in your home, you’re shot on sight.
There is an underground church in these parts of the world that are being told to deny Jesus and turn from their faith or die. They’re told that they are next to be tortured to death. In our American context, these ideas are foreign, but this is a real cost.
When we talk abut the cost of following Jesus, I think we’ve grown so comfortable with our views that when we hear something we don’t like or see someone we don’t care for or aren’t being given what we want or are asked to do something we no longer want to do – we just move to get a change of scenery or throw up our hands and say there’s nothing we can do or blame someone else.
Where’s the cost of discipleship? Where’s the not my will be yours be done? Where’s the focus on what really matters and the willingness to be uncomfortable for the sake of being right where Jesus wants us to be?
I do not wish what’s happening in Afghanistan on anyone…ever! But we need to stop thinking that getting up on Sunday to go to worship is a sacrifice. Comfortable Christians in 2021 in America need a wake up call that our brothers and sisters around the world are being tortured just for believing. They’re literally dying to go to church while we’re making excuses for why we just don’t have time to go. They’re cherishing their bibles even though it will cost them their lives, while we let ours gather dust on the end table in our living room.
Friends we need to get real for a minute. We need to realize that we have it easy. Maybe today we will step out just a little and take a small risk for the kingdom. What would happen if we loved Jesus the way we claim to love him? How would our lives be different if we actually loved our neighbors as ourselves? We just might stand out in a crowd. We just might know a little more what a cost of following Jesus really is.