In December of 2010 I made a transition in employment. My previous full-time job was at Calvary Chapel of Crook County, where I was on staff as the worship leader/Office guy/tech dude/graphic designer/web guy. Due to economic difficulties in our area (at the time, our county had the highest unemployment rate, hovering around 18%) I was laid off in December, and officially unemployed as of January 1st. For several months I was able to do some short-term jobs and collect unemployment, but in March I had an interview for a position as a server tech, here in Prineville. I was blessed to be able to get a three month contract as a server tech, and I recently had that contract extended by another month. I’ve been loving every minute of it. A mistake that we can make as Christians is to think or say something along the lines of, “If I just had a church job then life would be so much better. I’d get to be around Christians all day long!”. While I understand why thinking like this might creep in, it’s not a biblical, gospel-centered way of thinking. If I am a follower of Christ, then it stands to reason that I’m going to do many of the things he did, and obey him in the things he has required of me. Well, Jesus hung out with the people that the religious authorities of His day had deemed “sinners”. This upset these religious people greatly, but Jesus didn’t care. He loved people and wanted to see them come to a saving relationship with Him. We get off track when we start to think that avoiding non-Christians is somehow part of the great commission. No matter how you slice it, you can’t go into all the world and make disciples by preaching the gospel if the only people you ever hang around with are, in fact, other believers.
This kind of thinking can make many so-called “Good Christians” uncomfortable. This is usually because “Good Christians” are failing to understand the gospel. They believe that sin comes to them externally, from all of those “darn sinners”, so avoiding them will keep themselves living in sinless perfection. This is a great tragedy and mis-handling of the truth. Christians are not called to avoid sinners, but to cease sinning because they have been set free from the slavery of sin by grace through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Nothing more, and nothing less. We recognize that we have done nothing to earn our salvation, nor can we do something to earn it. We understand that Jesus is the one who has performed perfectly before the Father on our behalf. We don’t get arrogant toward non-believers, or even fearful of being around them; we become humble because we are absolutely floored that God would save us. We become gracious because we have experienced the amazing grace of God. We begin to see things as God sees them; badly broken and in need of His perfect Son to fix it. This is what it is to be a Christian. This is what it is to be a disciple. This is what it is to live in the gospel every day.
I for one am so thankful that God has saved me, and is continuing to change me. He is making me more aware of how badly all of creation needs His redeeming love; especially mankind. The fact that I not only receive salvation from the Father through Jesus Christ, AND I get the Spirit of God living in me is enough to completely explode my head. Then to add to that the great privilege of telling others about Him in word and deed is just too much. What a good God. The more I learn of the gospel, the more excited I am to share it with others.