ARE YOU SOLVING PROBLEMS OR JUST JUDGING THOSE THAT DO?
Sometime ago, I was invited to attend a high profile Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City. We met to exchange ideas about solving global problems. At this meeting of the world’s most powerful people, I conversed with people like Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Richard Branson, Bill gates, Warren Buffet, the mayor of London, England, former Heads of States. People like Desmond Tutu of South Africa and many other such leaders.
Everywhere I turned, there was a recognizable person. The setting was so informal that you could walk up to anyone and introduce yourself, which I did. But as I looked around, I saw very few church leaders. In fact, I can only recall seeing one other Pastor there. The Pastor of a large and well known church, in the United States.
During the entire event, I wondered why this was so. I found my answer while talking to former President Bill Clinton. I wanted to know why I had been invited, so I asked him how he heard about me and what I had done to merit being with all these bona fide leaders. He told me, “I know about you. I like what I read about you and I love what you are doing”. His answer spoke volumes to me about the state of the church.
I had been invited because he had read about our church. If our church were only solving internal church dispute and concentrating on personal growth, nobody would have cared about me. But because we have stepped into the kingdom role God has called us to, I was counted among the most powerful people in the world for at least those few days.
It was a privilege to participate in that summit, but it also broke my heart. I nearly wept at how irrelevant Christians have become. Believers by and large are so buried in their churches that they are invisible to the rest of the world. We disengage from the world and still claim to be doing kingdom work. Even worse is how we criticize people who are doing kingdom work.
People like Bill Clinton and rock star Bono, are putting kingdom principles to work, yet people condemn Bono because, he does not act like American evangelicals. And they criticize Clinton at any opportunity, because they don’t like his politics or personal behavior. Bono’s effort has resulted in billions of dollars, going towards poverty abatement programs and Clinton’s Global Initiative is addressing problems God wants solved: alleviating poverty, improving health, stopping religious and ethnic conflicts and taking proper care of the earth.
We may disagree with their means of solving these problems, but most church leaders have not even addressed these issues. They’re on the side lines, in fact they are not even in the stadium.
“Social responsibility becomes an aspect not of Christian mission only, but also of Christian conversion. It is impossible to be truly converted to God without being thereby converted to our neighbor.” – John Stott
These problems mean life or death for countless millions. They mean much more than what color the carpet in the chapel is or who will sing in the worship band, but the Christian community is largely mute on the major issues of the day.
As a result, God has passed over many believers. The people meeting to discuss issues of national and international importance are, for the most part, not Christians. Yet they carry Gods burden for the poor, the unhealthy, the prisoner, the orphan, and the downtrodden. They are doing exactly what Jesus would do. But we are like the Levite and the Priest in the story of the Good Samaritan. Both passed by the dying man. Both apparently were too cut up in their religious worlds to help. – An extract from my book “ChurchShift”
To be continued tomorrow with the following points:
- God’s intentions for man
- Why men don’t automatically become what they are meant to be
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION