Mark 5:34 -He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
Recently, I ran across the following stats while reading:
- The Gospels communicate roughly 132 contacts Jesus had with ordinary people outside of his group of disciples.
- Six were in the Jewish temple
- Four in the local synagogues
- 122 were just in the natural flow of living His life.
I actually didn’t count them myself, but in general, as you consider the Gospels, they appear to be accurate in nature. Regardless of the exact numbers, the proportions are borne out in Scripture with even a cursory reading. For the sake of this message, these “contacts” are understood to be opportunity for evangelism, ministry or demonstrating Christlikeness which of course Jesus did perpetually and perfectly.
So what’s the point? Too often we think living out our Christianity looks like this:
- Going to church
- Being involved at church
- Door knocking evangelization
- Evangelistic programs, techniques and literature
- Christian workshops, groups and seminars
- Church programs, events and services
Jesus’ list was nothing like this. “Yeah, but the Bible and the Church was just getting started during Jesus lifetime.” Fair enough. Then we have to ask if this is what the Bible reveals to us today. Does the Bible clearly outline these things as the official activities of the Christian life? The answer is obviously “NO”, this is simply the truth of what Christianity has evolved into. This is also borne out by the typical routine life of Christians today. The above list might look more like this for us today:
- We recognized or acted on roughly 132 opportunities for ministry last year
- 120 were in church or a scheduled Christian program/training
- 12 were in the natural flow of living life
The point? We have crossed over more into “mechanical ministry” rather than living out “incidental ministry” or “ministry during the natural flow of life”. Of course, this is not true for every Christian, but I think it can be safely said that it is GENERALLY true that most ministry and Christian life today for the typical Believer is compartmentalized around Sunday church services, evangelism programs and events specifically arranged for “ministry opportunity”. For a very large portion of professing Christians, “Christianity” is what they do and experience on Sunday mornings, and little else. We have “pro’s” to take care of the “ministry work”.
Does that make “Church”, evangelism programs, door knocking or revivals WRONG? No, heavens no. God works through all these things. But it does perpetuate the common experience that Christianity for many is simply “church”. The teaching is left to the seminary trained, Biblical counseling to professionals, and evangelization must be trained, structured and accomplished through programs, techniques and by intrusive confrontation of strangers. We don’t integrate all these things into our common daily life to be used incidentally as our moment to moment experience offers opportunity.
This may not be true for you. Hope not. It is up to each Believer to evaluate their own Christianity to see if they have compartmentalized, professionalized and programmatized their faith and personal spiritual life.
It takes courage and honesty to discern
the degree to which Jesus permeates every
moment of our life, or is simply a few
time slots on our schedule.
Think deeply about the terms “mechanical ministry” and “incidental ministry”. Is your Christian life centered around routine, liturgy, programs and a building? Is your faith segmented, scheduled and occurs in brief time slots? Or is it integrated into every moment and experience of your day?
Lord God, Help us to integrate our Christianity into our daily lives. Help us not to see our faith as “church” or programs, but as a way to live every moment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?