So many times in the church, in testimonies, in the regular sin sermons, I hear preached that, "I was leading a life of drugs, drinking, and sex, and then met God." Or the preacher models the life of sin by using examples of getting drunk and high. Those are wrong, most definitely, but there is a much greater, deeper sin that seems to pervade our humanity and most definitely has strong roots in our culture. It is perhaps so much a part of our lives that many people just accept it and continue on living, giving themselves a pat on the back for abstaining from alcohol and drugs, as if this is our only pursuit.
I believe that to follow Christ is to have a much higher calling than that. Or perhaps, a much lower calling, depending on your perspective. ;) Reading passages like Matthew 25, James 4: 17, James 5, Micah 6:8, Deuteronomy 24:17, Psalm 140:12, Isaiah 1:17, and so many others, I have to ponder, is the church - by which I am referring to the PEOPLE which makes up Christ's hands, feet, eyes, ears - really aware that in our pursuit of individual success, wealth, recognition, in our pursuit of a nice car, the three story house with four bathrooms, five bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a living room, a family room, and a who knows what room, that we have completely lost sight of God's objective?! WE'RE COMPLETELY NUTS! We're living, no - we are rolling around - no. we are BASKING in our sin, and loving it.
For the rich are blessed by the hands of God, and the money we are given should be used for His purposes alone. Christ said to take up our cross and follow him. The cross is not a crown, it is not a source of pride or success or renown. It is a source of servanthood, of denying the present life for a future one, and anxiously living through this life, in humble obedience to God's will, and patient anticipating a life much better to come. We are called to live below our means. We are called to make choices that reflect a humble reflection that God is working in our lives for a purpose far greater than this present life.
We are called to take home the homeless, to give an extra sweater to the street kid, to buy clothes that were not made with the bloody hands of an overworked five-year-old, to forgive and befriend those who hate us, ridicule us, hurt us. We are to live as and with the poor. To be the ones who imitate the homelessness of the Saviour we worship, to imitate the selflessness of the one who healed the lepers, to imitate the love and humility of the one who died for me while I was still mocking him.
Immense is the sin in which we deny our poor brothers and sisters the love of Christ, in which we turn away the mourners, the sick, the prostitutes, the gays, and claim that we did so in the name of God.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." -Hebrew 12:1