A Christian friend recently made me think. In conversation, he stated, “we support Joe Bloggs, who does this for us in the public arena”.
We had been talking about how we as Christians should personally stand up against injustice in our society – not as a replacement for evangelism as so often happens, but because God is not satisfied with injustice in His world (of course, the solution of the world’s injustices is often a life transformed by the gospel, so gospel proclamation is vital).
But we certainly do live in a world where others do our personal business for us. I no longer service my car, I have my own personal computer consultant (thanks Rohan!)… the list of things I employ someone else to do for me is endless. Some of them I could do but choose not to because of time constraints, others I simply have no idea how to do. I have become dependent on others.
But this sort of “employ someone else to the work for me” does not translate well into my relationship with God. I cannot employ someone to be godly for me or to do the things I should be doing as a Christian. I cannot employ someone to pray instead of doing it myself, or someone to read the Bible for me, or to fill in the answers in my Bible study. These are things that only I can do if they are to be a reflection of my desire to serve, honour and obey my Saviour.
When I decided to head to Bible College I had been working as a sales rep around bike shops in Sydney and interstate. As I told them what I was about to do, many people mentioned that someone from their wider family was also a minister. In the context, it seemed that they believed that they were right with God because a distant family member had something to do with Him. I wonder if they had fallen into the trap of “employing” someone to run their relationship with God? Sadly it does not work like this.
So why have a minister or pastor? It is not as if we can hand our Christian living over to them and just turn up on the Sundays that are convenient. Ephesians 4:11-12 talks of this sort of person as someone who “equips the people of God for works of service”. In other words, the minister is not the “professional Christian”. The existence of specialised evangelists does not mean that we no longer need to evangelise for ourselves (Colossians 4:5-6). And neither do missionaries mean that each of us is not involved in God’s mission (see Matthew 28:16-20). Similarly, those who inform us of social injustices should not be the only ones who need to stick their head up in the public firing line. We must see it all as our ministry as well, as integral parts of our own service to God.
If we go back to the topic of standing up for social justice, there are lots of ways YOU can become informed, encouraged and better equipped to stick your head up. The Social Issues Briefing I mentioned in the Notices section is one way. Or you could become a paid up member of a group like FAVA or Australian Christian Lobby and receive their newsletters. Remember though that you must be someone who lovingly makes a stand yourself, rather than having the mentality of paying them to do it for you. Another way is to use technologies like blogging, or the feedback spaces at the bottom of the many controversial news articles online.
Of course we need to start by being BIBLICALLY informed on each topic and by having godly motives. Want a hand in starting? then please just ask me.