How do we measure our faith? What’s our metric? How do we know how we’re doing as Christians? We used to celebrate people’s attendance, bring them in front of the church and give them a pin. That’s not bad, especially in today’s culture where regular church attendance has become 3 out of 6 Sundays - so much for commitment, right?
Remember when you got a star for bringing your Bible, another star for bringing a friend or memorizing a Bible verse?
Those things seem dated but probably need to make a comeback. The trouble is we thought we were becoming legalistic so we stopped - that and it was probably someone only attending 50% of the time that wanted it stopped if you know what I mean.
Those metrics aren’t bad but they don’t measure the heart. I read somewhere that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)” Let’s chase that down with, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2)”
As a pastor, I often hear people defend their lack of stars by saying, “God knows my heart.” When I hear that I always think, that’s the problem, God does know your heart and it’s jacked up at best.
I love my denomination and I was recently reading through our annual prayer guide. It’s good and those people work hard putting it together but I was reading about how they offer conferences for those who want to go deeper in their faith. Whoa! What bona fide Christ-follower doesn’t want to go deeper in their faith? Who doesn’t want to know how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is (Ephesians 3:18)? Do we need to start singing “Deep and Wide” complete with hand gestures in Big Church on Sunday morning again?
My point is we have created a caste system within the church. Those who are “shallow” and those who like to go “deeper (BTW, most people who like to deeper are not deep they are just prideful, sorry, it’s true).”
God tells us ALL to be “all in.” ALL of us are to love Him with everything that we have got, not some of us, all of us (Luke 10:27). Anything less is, well, less. Now go and get some stars next to your name. He told me to tell you that.
Ken Ansell currently serves as a pastor and local missionary in small, rural Texas community. He plays lots of tennis and fly fishes when he can. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org