Is the church’s single-minded emphasis upon rescuing souls hampering the growth of the church?
For many individuals this will seem like a very controversial question and whom would say that obviously the more souls that are saved, the larger the growth of the church. However, I would like to question that assumption and suggest that this mindset hampers an individual’s spiritual growth.
By suggesting that the ministry of saving souls is the most satisfying and only thing that matters, we immediately create a divide of sacred and secular. The bank accountant, stay at home mother, construction worker, gardener, CEO, etc. all lose their credibility as Christians unless they begin a Bible study, or share the gospel with a co-worker. This is contrary to what Paul tells us in multiple places in the epistles: that we are to work as unto the Lord, in whatever we do. Not just at sharing the gospel. Everything and anything we should do as if we are serving Christ. If we live this way, we make all of life’s spheres sacred, nothing is done is “secular” and everything brings God glory instead of only giving God glory when we do ministry. “23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col. 3:23-24, NIV). Did the Jews not live life fully, and never give God glory because they did not have the opportunity to share the gospel? I would argue that many of them were able to give God glory by existing in peace with Him.
God created us to live in harmony with Him and with others and to have dominion over the earth, working the land and keeping it in order. We are called to work for Christ and to know Him well. Our satisfaction should not be measured by how much or how well we are sharing the gospel. Rather, it should be found in being right with God. We are called to be righteous beings, to be in right relationship with God and others. This includes the saving of the lost and the discipleship of the saved, but is not limited to it.
I believe the idea that ministry is a more satisfying job opportunity because it is inherently “more spiritual” is a false idea that has garnered lots of support because of false ideologies such as, the idea that the physical world is inherently evil, that God will destroy the earth one day and restart, we (as Christians) are accountable for the salvation of mankind rather than they being individually responsible, etc. This idea that there is more “spiritual” work, causes a faith-by-works attitude where condemnation is prevalent when we fail to reach out to someone. We begin to measure our value by how well we are sharing the gospel rather than the fact that we are a child of God, holy and dearly loved and nothing we can do, and nothing that we don’t do will change it.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I struggle with the idea that saving souls is not more spiritual than other work. Much of my life has been struggling to do better and live more spiritually and to reach more people. But recently, God has stripped me of my ability to do my life of how I want to do it and caused me to rethink the way I live. I am beginning to understand his grace on a deeper level, and am beginning to understand his love and pleasure He find in me when I do the simplest things. I feel His pleasure when I smile because the trees are beautifully green. I feel His pleasure when I laugh at a joke. I feel His pleasure when I work on a school project. I feel His pleasure while I am typing this blog post. Everything good is sacred, and good is more than we think it is. We should be careful when we divide his Kingdom into “spiritual” and “secular”.
Our eternal perspective influences greatly the way we live our daily lives. What do you believe about the future?
~RESOURCES FOR FURTHER STUDY~
-Futureville, by Skye Jethani
-Heaven, by Randy Alcorn