Why nobody cares about your religion

Matthew 8
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Pretty sure I’ve used this image before. But it works. Get over it.

No one is impressed with your religion.

If I bring up Jesus or church with anyone not really involved with either, they get pretty defensive.  The more detached type will usually shake it off and kind of give me the “that’s your thing” posture, but most individuals with their brains and their emotions still intact get rather uncomfortable.

It’s because the religion that Jesus stands for is represented by a mass of people that are just like everyone else: they’re not willing to change. I look like just another religious hack with nothing to offer other than my personal dogma.

Both Christians and otherwise alike learn what they want to, and throw out the rest. For a Christian to suggest considering a world view or a perspective that conflicts with personal interests comes across as prudish, obnoxious, and foolish.

While Jesus walked this earth, He wasn’t looking to make a bunch of converts stuck on themselves.  He was looking for disciples.  Unfortunately, modern church is not really concerned with that. Their mentality is not much different than the guys you see in Matthew 8:

They are looking for a lifesaver. (v. 16-17) Everybody hurts. Sometimes. Jesus is indiscriminate when it comes to compassion, and that’s attractive to just about everyone.  Today’s church sells that, and people line up all the way out the door. But Jesus isn’t looking for cheerleaders. He’s looking for ambassadors.

They are concerned with personal gain. (v. 18-20) And immediately, this is where we trip up. Once we’re saved, we get a “what have you done for me lately” mentality about things, and if Jesus doesn’t deliver, we’re outtie.  But perhaps Jesus is prompting us to let go.

They are preoccupied with  personal comfort. (v. 21-22) Wealth and the pursuit of money is a huge obstacle for self-sacrifice, yet even church has a hard time letting go of it. Would your church survive without padded chairs, colored lights and a full band?  We’re teaching a diluted version of Jesus if we don’t expect some discomfort.

They are unfamiliar with Jesus’ power. (v. 23-27) Charismatic churches would sharply disagree with this outright — but I’m not talking about experiential “power” (slain in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, etc.) Jesus calls the fishermen in this passage “fearful” despite their occupation suggests great familiarity with the sea. He calms the waves, and they’re shocked. Jesus needs to remain awesome in our perspective in order for Him to make a sincere impact on ourselves and our peers.

His solutions are inconvenient. (v. 28-34) Even after witnessing a miracle, the people of the region show great contempt and want Jesus to leave. We want the solutions to our problems done our way.  And that’s not always going to be the case.

It isn’t mysterious why people want no part of your religion. You can present convincing scientific facts and philosophical reasoning for the existence of God, but if there isn’t an obvious distinction between the world’s trends and the character of Jesus within you, no one is going to buy it. Let’s be authentic, teachable, and sold out. Without that, people won’t notice. They won’t even care.


 

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