Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
The announcer’s voice cheerfully begins, she’s telling me how badly I won’t want to miss this Easter service. The list of loot being raffled off, makes the whole event sound less and less like a worship service, unless of course, we are talking about worshipping goods rather than God.
Her inflection and smiling words remind me of hyped up used car advertisements and by the time they are listing off the fifth or sixth item they will be giving away I turn it down. All the way. My ears hurt. My heart suddenly churns with questions.
Through the hum of kid-chatter in the backseat my mind wanders around this idea of giving away thousands and thousands of dollars in merchandise as a tool for reaching the lost.
What does Jesus think of this comercializing the gospel?
Is the saving message of Christ so unappealing that we have to throw in the “chance” at winning an iPad? A flat screen TV? Maybe a car would do the trick.
I ‘get’ the idea that we want to get people in the doors. I do. But I can’t help but wonder what the greater message we are sending is.
Jesus is enough. Freedom from death is enough.
Jesus repeatedly tells His followers to abandon all they have to follow Him. How does this mass appeal to the desires of the flesh to fill their holey souls with material goods, make people more open to hearing the Gospel?
I don’t think it does.
Jesus didn’t gain followers by offering them a new camel or a jar of oil. He offered Himself.
His message was believe in me, and I will give you eternal life (John 5:24). He didn’t buy goods for those seeking, he fed them.
Aren’t there better ways of reaching the lost?
What about holding a massive Easter brunch for anyone who wanted to come, what about serving them with food and the living water at the same time?
Promises of a ‘chance’ at winning something temporary, diminishes the awesome truth that Christ offers something eternal.
The hard truth of the Gospel is that following Christ comes at a cost, but that grace is given freely for those who will come and follow. Jesus fully reckognized the difficulty of His message, acknowledging that He would be a stumbling block for many. Why do we feel the need to market His message in such a brazen way during an Easter service?
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost Of Discipleship
No doubt many will come. And perhaps souls will be saved. God can use even our most wasted efforts at spreading His message for His ultimate glory.
But what does Jesus think of this?
What do YOU think of this?
Tell me, I really want to know.
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