“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
–Paul the Apostle (1 Timothy 6:10, ESV)
The other day, I had a conversation with an old man at a local coffee shop that I frequent. He spotted my Bible on the table and we had a lengthy and cordial conversation about Christianity. During our exchange, he gave several reasons why he couldn’t believe in Christianity. As I listened, the reason that stood out the most to me was his observations about particular Christians that he had personally encountered. The old gentleman couldn’t believe in Christianity because the Christians he had met in the past seemed so worldly—relentlessly pursuing wealth and status and power. He questioned whether or not these people actually believed in the ways and values of the Jesus they supposedly follow.
I couldn’t help but agree with what the old man was saying. I too have observed—whether in history or in our present time—people who proclaim to follow Jesus and yet veer so far away from His ways and values. Their attitudes and their lifestyles are hardly any different from the people around them. They pursue worldly wealth and status with equal voracity. And they seem to care so little for the very things espoused by God in Scripture.
Is it any wonder why many in North America no longer find the message of Jesus attractive or relevant? Many who proclaim to follow Jesus aren’t really that much different from they are. So why bother? They aim for the same type of worldly success. They buy the same luxury cars and homes. They spend their time, energy, and money doing pretty much the very same things. What does Christianity have to offer me that will make my life any different than it is right now?
The message of Jesus is all about a new way of life—a new reality. Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior not only brings eternal life but it brings a new way of living to those who believe. The message is that we can freely abandon a life of worldly pursuits and instead find great satisfaction and meaning in the eternal things. Until Christians actually embrace this message—not just in words but in action—we will continue to have little to no voice to those who are keenly observant of how Christians choose to follow Jesus.