Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Let Go and Let God (ugh)

“Let go and let God”. “Don’t worry, be happy”. I have come to dislike these two bumper sticker-isms—not because I don’t believe them, but because of how often they are used. We spit out these quips, and others like them, when what we really mean is, “Gee, I have no idea what to say, but I want to say something helpful.”

I’ve written before about what I call “bumper sticker theology”. These are the feel good words and phrases we Christians say to one another. Speaking fluent Christianese is a prerequisite to church membership (or so it seems). Drive through a church parking lot during a Sunday morning service and you’re bound to see a myriad of bursts of happiness plastered on the cars.

Here are a few of my favorite sticker-isms; “It’s not a religion-It’s a relationship”. “Real Men Pray”. "CH__CH—What is missing? UR”. “Jesus Freak”. “Jesus On Board”. And my personal favorite, “In Case of Rapture, Car will be Driverless”. I don’t debate the truth of each of these phrases, but I question the effectiveness.

Jesus walked from town to town and village to village, looking for people whose life he could touch. He didn’t pass through with his arms full of flyers with words printed on fine papyrus using pomegranate ink and touting spiritual fun facts. He found and met the physical needs of the sad, lonely, and hurting. Jesus sought out the hungry, and fed them. He went to the homeless, and offered them hope. He looked for the unlovable, and He put His arms around them.

I believe that if we put a bumper sticker on our car, we should also be willing to act on those proclamations. Prepare a meal for someone who might be sick or homebound (stay away from casseroles—I’m just sayin’). Give a single mom a break, and take her kids to the library for a few hours. Take up an offering for the family who is on the brink of losing their home or having their power shut off. Send a card to a mom whose child is in prison.

There is nothing wrong with the “let go and let God” theology. 1 Peter 5:7 says, Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you. Make no mistake, however, that there are things we can do when people are in pain.

First and foremost, we need to pray for them. When Peter was in prison, the church prayed “earnestly” for him (Acts 12:5). And when Paul was in prison, he prayed for the church (Romans 1:9). In Isaiah 58:10 God commands us to feed those in want. Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. (NIV) In Matthew 25 Jesus tells us to give food, drink, and clothing to the needy and to visit the sick. He went on to say that when we do these things for the “least of these”, we’re actually doing them for Jesus himself. When we refuse to help the less fortunate, we are “refusing to help” Jesus! (vs. 45 NIV)

I know how difficult it is to watch people hurt. I know what it feels like to want to help, but to not have any idea of just how to go about doing that. Let’s get off the pew and look around us for people in need. A bumper sticker won’t fill an empty stomach. Well-intentioned words won’t pay the light bill for a family out of work. Quips can’t heal a broken heart, and feel-good words won’t bring the prodigal home. Get off the pew and decide today to meet one need of one person. That’s what it is to be Jesus with skin on. Get off the pew!

No comments:

Post a Comment