Meanderings of a Minister

Is This Really What Jesus Left Us Here For?
December 23, 2011, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Book Review

I don’t know if you have ever asked yourself, or your church, this question, but I read a book recently, entitled, “Jim & Casper Go to Church[1]”.  It is authored by two guys.  One is a pastor and the other is an atheist.  In the book, Jim Henderson offered to pay Matt Casper (the atheist) to attend church with him at various high-profile churches throughout the country and provide him with his assessment of their ministries from the perspective of an outsider.  As they visited each church, Casper would ask the question, “Is this really what Jesus left you here for?”

As I have thought about this question, I have been struck by how I would answer this question for each of the activities my church is involved in throughout the week, month and year.  One such example happened at a recent class in our church.  At First Southern Baptist Church, we have an Orientation to First Southern Baptist Church class for newcomers, those desiring more information about the church and perspective members.  During a recent class, a person asked the question, “Is there a biblical reason for having this class?”  In essence, “Is This Really What Jesus Left Us Here For?”  I had to think about that question.  I believe that Jesus taught His disciples to count the cost of following Him because to start to follow Him only to give up is not good.  This is the reason for this class.  We want people to know what will be expected of them, if they join First Southern Baptist Church.  We also want them to know what to expect of their church and to hold us accountable for this mandate.

There are lots of other areas I have applied this same question.  When we budget for activities throughout the year, do we ask if we are doing what Jesus left us here for?  When we assess our staff and our effectiveness as a church, we should ask that question.  In my daily life, I need to ask that question.  In my choice of entertainment, friendships, spending my money, my time, my attention, I need to ask that question.

How about you?  What would disappear from our lives, if you and I asked that question daily or even moment to moment?  How would we be different?  What would remain the same?  As you think through the implications of this question for yourself, your family, your business, your church and your community, who knows?  We might just find we are doing some things that we need to quit.  We might be doing some things that need to be improved.  We might not be doing some things we need to start doing.  Who knows?  We might find that God has been speaking all along, but we have been so busy doing things that Jesus did not leave us here for that we have crowded out any time, money, attention or focus that could be used to do what He actually did leave us here for.  Just a thought.

[1] Henderson, Jim and Casper, Matt, Jim & Casper Go to Church:  Frank Conversations About Faith, Churches and Well-Meaning Christians.  Carol Stream, IL:  BarnaBooks, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, 2007.


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