Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, (Luke 19:10). The purpose of our Christian lives may be viewed as an extension of Christ’s presence and influence in this world. We are here to further his work, (Mt. 28:18-20). We are not here primarily to further our own interests or agendas. We are not here to amass physical wealth, or to build worldly institutions, except to the extent these are used to accomplish the mission of Christ. We need to keep clearly in mind our purpose as Christians, which is to serve Christ.
There are several things that we as Christians can easily fall into, which distract from our mission, and actually weaken our credibility as heralds or conveyors of the gospel. These things ultimately prevent us from effectively fulfilling our purpose.
1. Getting overly involved in political and other worldly activities. Please understand, I am not saying that political issues are unimportant, or that Christians should not be involved in them. However, when we spend inordinate amounts of our time and energy debating current political issues, what does this say about our commitment to the ultimate mission of Jesus Christ? Whether a certain candidate wins an election at this particular time in American history is a question of relative unimportance in God’s overall grand scheme of things. Compared to the eternal destiny of but one soul, how important are American politics? I have been involved in local and national politics for many years, but I would rather be responsible for leading one soul to Christ and an eternity in heaven, than leading a Democrat or Republican to victory.
2. Getting obsessed with current societal controversies. We are living in a very polarized, divisive time. I think it is important whether or not we wear masks, whether or not we are vaccinated, whether or not we are socially distancing, etc. But it is vastly more important whether or not we are living for Jesus Christ. And if I spend all of my time obsessing over issues which are constantly being stoked by the shifting media of our day, how much does this leave for Jesus Christ? Some people seem to be more concerned about getting or not getting vaccinated against a physical virus, than they are about getting baptized for the remission of soul-damning sins. Did you know that a person can go to heaven without knowing about COVID-19? But I don’t know of anyone who is going to go to heaven if they spend all their time arguing over whether we should be vaccinated or wearing a mask.
3. Getting lost in conspiracy theories. This is dangerous and counter-productive. When people look to Christians, they should see balance, good judgment, wisdom and an appropriate sense of humor. They should see something desirable, something they want. They should see informed maturity. They should not see extremism or gullibility. I get concerned about members of the church who fall prey to every conspiracy theory that comes across the Internet. Climate change, the New World order, on and on. Did you know that God is big enough to retain control regardless of who is at the reins of earthly governments? And the destruction of this earth by fire when Christ comes again is the only “climate change” which is going to matter in the final analysis. Again, don’t get me wrong, these issues are important and worthy of rational discussion, but can we please break the fixation and include time to talk about something more important? Something that will still matter long after this world is gone? I frankly don’t have time to track down the truth about (“fact check”) every conspiracy theory I hear, do you? To paraphrase, “Paranoia runs deep—let the word of God into your heart creep.”
When people of the world see us fretting and worrying over politics, shifting societal trends and controversial theories, how much influence do you think we will have with them in spiritual matters? They may be asking, “If you are so concerned about my soul, why aren’t you talking about it?”
Christians, we need to be careful about damaging our credibility. We need to avoid becoming overly concerned with matters of relative unimportance, matters which are temporary, matters which ultimately don’t matter. Our focus needs to be maintained clearly on following Jesus Christ. Remaining faithful ourselves, and encouraging those around us to follow the Savior is what we are all about—it’s why we’re here!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.