04 Jun American Christianity – The fight between comfort and conviction
Before I share what American Christianity means let me share about Frank. A friend of mine, Byron, described Frank as a person who is not your typical church folk or someone who is well known. Frank, a man in his late forties or early fifties, possibly from Mexico used to sell and use drugs. He lived well and had everything he wanted. He was married and had kids. He also had an expensive house and the other perks that came with wealth through selling drugs.
My friend, Bryon, met Frank at a Christian homeless shelter. Frank shared his story and how he lost everything in one moment. Due to selling and using drugs, it cost him his family and almost his life. Consequently, Frank lost his house, his family especially his wife who died from a car crash, which Frank drove under the influence. Frank shared that he woke up after a day or so from the accident in the hospital. The doctor who did surgery on Frank shared that Frank had a few months to live. Bryon learned later from Frank that Frank’s children did not want anything to do with him. But, God had other plans…
American Christianity means some Christians who live in America think and act more like Americans than Christians. In other words, they are about comforts and conveniences. As Christians, we are called to be a people of convictions, to love God through loving others (Matthew 22:37-39).
Though Jesus was neither American nor a Christian, He lived among a people and dwelt with them (John 1:14). That is to say Jesus did life with those around Him. He spent time with all types of people especially people from different backgrounds. The woman at the well (John 4), some would call her a slut; the religious leader (John 3), some would view him as theological fool; the leper (Mark 1), some would avoid; the blind beggar (Luke 17), some who ignore and look at him with disguise and so on. The point being Jesus spent time with His own kind and others who did not look like him, talk like him, or grow up like him. Why? His convictions to reveal the greatness of God were clearly seen through loving others especially those from a different background.
God’s plan for Frank: Bryon shared that Frank, some years ago, survived. He has lived longer than the doctor expected. He might still serve at the homeless shelter where he learned about God and how to help others. Frank is trying to help people find Christ at the shelter. He even started to talk to one of his kids. Frank one time asked my friend why did he do what he did. Bryon was enlisted in the Air Force and single. Bryon shared that Christ loved him where he was. Bryon pointed out that he could not add value to Christ. He understood that the value Christ gave him was to value and give value to others. Bryon lived his conviction of love through others different than him. Although he was not married, not Mexican, nor homeless, he chose to love others even those who were not like him. He spent time pursuing others outside the church that were less fortunate and not like him, for example Frank.
My hope, like my friend, is that you are able to love people who add no value to your life. They might look different, act different, or speak different but like you, Christ loved you where you were. Is there someone in your life like Frank? You might not have the same upbringing or that person might not add value to your life but God is calling you to love him/her where they are. Be discerning. Don’t be the American Christian who acts like an American more than a Christian but rather act like a Christian who lives in America. A Christian who lives out a life of convictions for the loss, the unchurch people, and those who are not like you for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31).
At Crosspoint, I have the privilege to do what my friend Bryon did some years ago. I work with several church members who love God and love others. We are intentional in loving people through our time, resources, and energy. In Clemson, we have pursued a local community called Creekwood. They look different and talk different but like Jesus our hope is to love them as He loved us. Though we are privileged to be Americans we do not allow comforts and conveniences to dictate our convictions as Christians. Our aim is to fulfill the Two Greats: The Great Commandments & the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
May Jesus’ words exhort us to live with convictions:
Then the King will say to [the Christians in America] on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me”….And the King will answer, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
Live a convicted life realizing there are Franks all around us. To know how we love them is a reflection of our love and value we received from Christ Jesus our Lord.
Pray without ceasing as we continue to work with this local community, in Clemson, South Carolina:
- God will show us favor with the people
- God will save all Creekwood people
- God will send people to the small group that we lead
!Soli Deo Gloria and our Deligheo!
Generation LINK Resident