This Tuesday (9/27/2011) evening my family and I (minus our college girl) had the privilege of attending the Come to the Well Tour and saw Christian artists Lindsay McCaul , The Afters, Sanctus Real and Casting Crowns. The event was sponsored by World Vision and was held in the Gibson Amphitheater at Universal Studios Hollywood. During a break from the music, Mark Hall of Casting Crowns shared about child sponsorship through World Vision and talked about the experiences of band members in travelling to Africa to meet the children they sponsor. It is a powerful thing to participate in the gospel of Jesus Christ; giving to those who do not have enough. It is amazing to see what just a few dollars each month can do in the life of a child and in the community in which they live.
If you have never sponsored a child; please consider doing so. “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:40 NLT)
One of the things that Mark Hall said that struck a chord in me and I believe with many others in the room that night was that “we are the body of Christ, not the audience of Christ.” Casting Crowns had performed their song; “If we are the body” only a few minutes before, so the impact of the statement was very strong on the crowd and thankfully many people chose to sponsor a child.
I want to briefly reflect on that statement. I believe that statement challenges much of what takes place (or does not take place) inside of many churches. Many people who sit in worship services in our churches are extremely sincere spectators. We watch as others minister the gospel. We sing with the worship team and we follow the scriptures during the sermon but do we participate in the kingdom of God outside of our time within the sanctuary?
God did not redeem us so that we could go to church. He redeemed us so that we might know Him and so that we might share His love, power, grace and gospel with the rest of the world. Here are two passages of scripture that most of know very well:
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:34-46 NLT)
We cannot sit idly by and cheer-lead for believers as they minister the gospel. Each of us should be engaged in actively sharing the love and message of Jesus Christ with others. We are the body; we are not the audience.
You may not be called to the pulpit (very few are) but you are called to your neighbor, to your schoolmates and to your work mates. You may not be able to end the suffering of the world but it is highly possible for you to make an impact in a life. You can make a difference. You can do something.
You can begin just about anywhere:
- Sponsor a child
- Host a bible study
- Visit prisoners
- Volunteer at a shelter
- Go on a short-term mission trip
- Teach a Sunday School class
- Mentor a younger person
- Pray for the sick
- Visit the elderly
- Share Christ with another person
This list could go on and on. Get out of the audience and get into the body of Christ; the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of us. We are His voice, His hands and His feet to a lost and dying world. He has called and empowered us to share His kingdom. Let’s let the power of His grace flow through us to the world.
You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. (1 Corinthians 12:18 MSG)