Our idea of Christianity is often so foreign to the Bible, I wonder if Jesus can recognize it at all. Our "organized" religion has made everything so nice and neat; easy to swallow and digest. We have our neat churches with our great programs. We have our often talented and well paid pastors. We have our recording-level worship bands and solo artists. When you step back and take a look at it, it really is amazing. So what am I complaining about? It's not very biblical.
In all our professionalism and largeness we have lost much of the intimacy the Bible instructs us to have. Consider just one simple thing: Tithing. We have made it so simple. Using a calculator, we look at how much we got paid this week, hit the 10% button and, voila, there is our tithe. Only the instruction we received from Jesus and from the Apostles tells us that it is about our 100%, our all and how the Spirit prompts us to use the resources God has given us in supporting the Kingdom work.
Look at this one little verse in Galatians 6:
"Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor." (6:6)
There is no need for this any more because of our tithing system, right? Only this instruction was not so much about providing for our spiritual instructor as it is about us, the givers. This verse is found in a list of instructions on "doing good". This is a personal responsibility we have and it produces something in us as we are generous with "all good things".
Yes, I said a personal responsibility.
Only now, in our "organized religion" we have pretty well done away with personal responsibility except maybe at the leadership level. No one considers it their responsibility to share the gospel, to pray with their neighbour, to go out and feed the homeless, to take care of their pastor or their Bible Study leaders. No, we have a system for all that. Our pastor is taken care of by the church. There is a team trained in evangelism. Our society is looking after the homeless with a system of homeless shelters. All we have to do is attend church, read our Bibles and pray. But that is not how it works with God.
"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:14-17)
We cannot allow our "organized religion to rob us of the personal and intimate relationship we are suppose to have with Jesus and this world. We don't run away from the world but run straight to it. We don't live a theory of Christianity but live the practical, "dirt under the finger nails" version that Jesus called us to. We don`t allow the organization to steal away our personal responsibility to follow the instructions of the Word of God. Exercise your faith, take it for a walk today. Share something you have receive`d with those who provide you instruction. It`s not always money you know. It could be an encouraging word you received or some lesson you were taught by a circumstance in your life. Maybe it`s even your pool on a warm afternoon. There is so much more according to the Word but this might be a good first step for you.
It`s time to get Christianity out of the religious classrooms and back out on the streets and in the market place where it belongs.