Church: The first goal of the church is not serve
By Naomi Omoruyi
Let us take a mind journey into the story in the 10th chapter of the gospel according to Luke. In the 13th verse, Jesus begins a parable. A man was traveling and was accosted suddenly by thieves. The thieves took his raiment, wounded him and left him lying along the road, half dead. A priest passed by that road, hours later, and when he saw him he passed by the other side. Some hours later a Levite passed that road and just like the priest he just looked at the dying man and passed by the other side.
The man was almost dead by the time a Samaritan traveler passed the road, when he saw him he had compassion on him and went to him and poured wine and oil on his wounds, bound them with a clean cloth, set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn. I bet you have heard this story countless times and you must have interpreted it to mean many things but the highlight of this story in this piece is the response of each of the travelers to the dying man.
As members of God’s family, to which category of people do we belong? To those who care less of the dying humanity around them or to the category of those whose bowels of compassion are easily touched.
This piece is a wake-up call to the ecclesia, the body of Christ. The world is in an irreversible gear of moral and social decline. We hear of very terrible and wicked things that the minds of men are conceiving every day and we wonder where the world is going. In the city of Benin just recently we heard of young secondary school boys having a cult clash, I mean secondary school not to talk of students in higher institutions. On social media people do so different things for fame and money.
Transportation is a major means of livelihood in our country today but more than sixty percent of the drivers are alcoholics and chronic smokers. Many youths in our great country Nigeria are into unimaginable things in a bid to feed their desire. These are people all around us, in our work places, in our communities, in the same buses with us and Christ died for all of them (1).
The word of God describes them as a multitude in the valley of decision (2). They are referred to as those who sat in darkness (3). They are just like the man who was beaten and harassed by thieves. Are we as children of the Most High God, the priest or Levite passing by or are we the Samaritan gripped with compassion. Many Christians think their purpose of being saved is to go to heaven and to escape hell. Now let’s look into God’s
view of this; Jesus said “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to all creature”(4) then he says again “ye are the light of the world, the salt of the earth”(5). Paul confirms this in his epistles to the Corinthians “we have been giving the ministry of reconciliation” (6).
Now let’s look at it logically, if we were just saved to go to heaven we would have been taken to heaven immediately. But no, we are here as the light of the world. We are the representatives of Christ beseeching the world to be reconciled to God (7).
We must know that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world not of the church. It is so pathetic to know that we have enjoyed the cool within our church walls. I mean let’s look at this, we dress in ways that we know will please God to church but to our workplace or society, where our dress-culture should be marketed we dress however we like in fact some join the worlds decayed system of dressing.
We compare and compete amongst ourselves on the most spiritual individuals but out there in the world where the effects of the life of God that we have is supposed to be seen there is zero impact. We strive over the best worker or over leadership positions in church and shy away from leadership roles in the society where we as the church can have a say and influence our society with the culture of God. Some people call the political system in Nigeria corrupt, why would it not be corrupt? When the lights have decided to hide under the bushel. We must wake up!
A statement that is popularly made by Christians to make an excuse for not making a difference is: “if you cannot beat them join them” this is totally absurd. The truth is we as Christians must know that we are to be different we cannot behave like darkness and reprove them(8). Jesus says it this way and I paraphrase, if the salt has lost its distinct taste of saltiness it thenceforth good for nothing but to be thrown out and trodden under the foot of men(9).
I was talking to a brother of mine one day, he is also a Christian and I was encouraging him and I said hope you also speak to people about God. His reply was appalling no me I’m just loving my God oh”; that’s how many Christians are. We are indifferent about the salvation of souls around us we just want to make sure our eternity in heaven is secure and we can use God to get our needs here on earth. We must wake up! In Jonah’s life God gave us a very significant occurrence. A gourd plant grew out of the ground in a night and some hours later a worm ate up the gourd and Jonah became angry(10).
This was a picture of Nineveh being devoured by wickedness and if Jonah refused to preach they would have been destroyed like the gourd but because of Jonah they were preserved. Yes! Because Jonah! Romans chapter ten verse eleven to fourteen. For whosoever shall call upon the lord shall be saved. How shall they call on him whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?.
This illustration points out that the importance of reaching out to unbelievers cannot be overemphasized. So we must be seriously involved. Our fathers in scripture saw this as a big time business, for example, Paul who said woe is me if I preach not the gospel (11),the apostles who made speaking about their Lord the sole purpose of their lives. Even in early times, we have fathers like Charles G. Finney, Smith Wigglesworth, Oral Roberts, Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa and a host of others who pursued the souls in the valley of decision with all zeal and zest. And the word of God admonishes us to be followers [in deed] of those who through faith and patience inherit the promise(12). So we cannot afford to be complacent. We must wake up!
One major issue that provoked the conception of this piece was the statement that a Christian made. He with his words pointed fingers at a ministry which was and still is pursuing soul winning voraciously, saying that they are after church growth. A majority of the body of Christ is complacent and needs to be awoken out of unconcern for perishing souls and a fragment of the body of Christ has roused and is trying to run with God’s command and a Christian has the audacity to cast accusatory comments to retard the work.
Let’s wake up please! Jesus said anyone who is not gathering with me scatters (13). Instead of talking about the faults, let’s all those who can identify the faults in any ministry taking steps to be ambassadors for Christ, become dogged ambassadors and correct the faults by their action then they can show their results as proof and correct the faults and encourage the effort of every ministry that is running. Let’s encourage ourselves. It’s not a competition!
As I said before, this is a wake-up call to the church. Everyone who is a child of God is supposed to be involved in winning souls to Christ not just the pastors. This does not spare the ministers of God from the great commission either. It’s for all of us. We must lift up the light that we have received and enlighten the darkness around us through every medium, not just by words but also by our actions. We must be deliberate and intentional about it. Remember, our heavenly daddy wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth(14). Shalom.
(1)2 Corinthians 5:15(2)Joel 3:14 (3)Matthew 4:16(4)Mark 16:15(5)Matthew 5:13-14(6) 2Corinthians 5:18(7)2 Corinthians 5:19(8) Ephesians 5:11 (9) Matthew 5:13 (10) Jonah 4:6-11(11)1 Corinthians 9:16(12) Hebrews 6:12(13) Luke 11:23(14)1 Timothy 2:4