If you played football for my high school coach, you did “whatever it takes” to win. “Whatever it takes” ranged from strength and conditioning, studying the playbook, learning the fundamentals of your position, doing well in class, adhering to a standard of conduct, attending practice and team meetings to putting it all together on the field.
If you played basketball for Coach “K” at Duke University, you did “whatever it takes” to win. “Whatever it takes” ranged from strength and conditioning, proper diet, studying the playbook, learning the fundamentals of your position, doing well as a student, adhering to a standard of conduct, attending practice and team meetings to putting it all together on the court.
If you served in the Air Force, you did “whatever it takes” to fly, fight and win. “Whatever it takes” ranged from strength and conditioning, knowing the mission, knowing the core competencies of your job, being proficient at your job, knowing the history and customs and courtesies of the Air Force, being prepared to deploy, following the chain of command, adhering to a standard of conduct, attending mandatory formations to putting it all together in support of the mission in a war time environment.
If you decided to follow Jesus, you did “whatever it takes” to love God with your entire being and obeying His commands. “Whatever it takes” ranged from denying yourself, taking up your cross to following Jesus. It included making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), witnessing (Acts 1:8) and preaching the good news (Romans 10:14-15).
My personal observation of what is described as the typical American Christian is that we are far from “whatever it takes” as we give, pray, serve and worship. On par, we give, pray, serve and worship if and only if it doesn’t interfere with anything else. How do I know? First, by observation. I’ve lived and traveled in many states in the United States and Canada. Second, by reading. I’ve read and studied the research from Lifeway, Pew Research, Barna and others. The Christian as we know and understand it is barely distinguishable from many who are unsaved. There is little or no evidence that the Christian is salt and light in their community. With that said, the local church reflects the chaos and dysfunction of its community.
Let’s be warned . . .
REV 2:4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
REV 3:15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
As we remember and celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, I think it is time for a change of attitude starting with me. Our Lord, Master and King did “whatever it takes” as He walked this earth. He faced angry crowds and opposition from the religious leaders. He was mocked, scourged and crucified. Therefore, in His memory and to His glory, I desire an attitude of “whatever it takes” as I shepherd, teach, preach and lead. As I give, pray, serve and worship. In addition, I invite you to hold me accountable and I hope you join me in a change of attitude that leads to winning in your gifting, calling and ministry. I hope this attitude is reflected in our lifestyle, priorities, choices and service in church ministry.
A Work in Progress,