064 Preaching At Home Syndrome

I know I'm repeating myself, but it just seems to be a fact that comes slinging back in my face over and over again: "The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history" (A. Toynbee).

One particular thing I'm referring to that we don't seem to learn from history, is what I'd call overcoming the "preaching at home" syndrom: It took the Early Church years, if not actual decades, until they finally realized and remembered (or at least cared to pay attention to the fact) that Jesus had bid them to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), and not just to the Jews back home in the "Promised Land."

It took a former enemy of the church, the persecutor Saul turned missionary no.1 Paul, to lead the way and show that the Gospel was destined for the World, and not just for fellow Jews at home.

Why am I saying that this keeps happening? Well, look at the church today: Who are they preaching to? When you listen to those big star preachers like Joyce Meyer or a song from one of the many Christian bands and superstars from the U.S., whom are they addressing? Almost exclusively fellow Christians. The attitude is similar to that which must have been that of the Early Church stuck back home: "We like our own kind. As far as them hottentots out there, well, let'em go to hell: we wouldn't want them around in heaven, anyway."

Not only did the Early Christians initially fail to obey their Lord's bidding to spread out the message into the whole world, but they even gave the only fellow who actually did the job a hard time, by criticizing him and his ways of doing it and criticizing his flock ("Your pagan converts need to be circumcized and eat only kosher food, if they want to be saved," etc.). They most definitely failed to support him, initially.

It seems that the only thing that finally got them to change their minds on the issue was what God usually has to use in order to get his people out of their comfy-cozy ruts: persecution. That was a lesson the Early Church Jews had failed to learn from their ancestors in Egypt.

They'd been having such a great time there in the fertile Nile delta, the land of Goshen, which had been given to Joseph (son of Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham - as a reminder) for saving the world from starvation, that the furthest thing on their mind was getting outta there for some "Promised Land." It took the rise of some really mean Pharaoh, who was having them kill their own male babies and use the Jews as a slave work force, that very slowly mananged to change their minds.

Now, over a thousand years later, the first Christians didn't want to hear anything about that promise of "I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance." And it took incessant persecution to finally shake'em up and follow the footsteps of that suspiscious Paul dude...

What will it take for today's Christians to turn their focus outward, toward the lost sheep, instead of singing and preaching to each other over and over again? Especially those in a certain country which seems to almost resemble another "Promised Land," which - in the opinion of others - is slowly turning into a spiritual Egypt?

I guess we'll have to wait and see what God is going to have to pull out of His sleeve this time to get His people to join the frowned upon few who are already in the fields, tediously raking in the harvest.

No comments: