Why doesn’t everyone think like me? For example, people come to Christ for all sorts of reasons. Some come to Christ to get their “fire insurance.” Others want to receive healing, wealth, friends, or just to belong to something. Some are reacting to a parent or spouse who told them that is what they “should” do.
The stage was set for me to come to Christ long before I even heard about Him. I knew there was right and wrong. Though my parents weren’t Christians, they taught their kids that some things were right and others wrong. I knew in my heart it was true (see Rom 2:14-15), but that knowledge didn’t keep me from doing my share of wrong when it sounded like fun or less work. If I was going to do the right things, I would need a reason.
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My high school friend started telling me about Jesus. That sounded like a possible reason to get to know God. After arguing with my friend for about a year, it started to become clear that God could be the reason some things were right and others were wrong. I felt that if God was real, then I should acknowledge Jesus as God. Additionally, I considered salvation to be a great side benefit. I eventually gave my life to God and acknowledged that as God, He was the definition of what was right. It fit perfectly with my way of thinking.
I was also thinking that everyone should think and believe exactly like me. I felt it would be best if everyone came to Christ like I did, with “pure” motives not for selfish gain. I have since learned that people are different and think differently from one another. How God speaks to me may not be how He gets through to you. In the years since I came to Christ I have met many great Christians with all sorts of different reasons they came to Christ. The point is they started their journey with Him. None of us really comprehends “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph 3:18) when we first met Him. We need to start with Christ and then God will open our eyes more and more as we let Him.
Later as I grew in Christ and was involved in many different kinds of ministries in the church (youth, bible study, Sunday school, church elder…). There were others I encountered that were involved in other ministries. I thought that everyone should be like me, moderate and balanced. I understood that we need other ministries. The problem was these crazy people that thought the only real ministry people should do is evangelism; that was the most important form of ministry. Then there were others who thought serving the poor was most important. For others it was teaching children. Why couldn’t they all understand that all were equally important, like I thought?
Well that kind of thinking on my part sure didn’t work out. That was never going to happen; each of these people had received marching orders from God. God finally got through to me: the most important ministry is what God has for me. People should feel passionate about what God has for them, be it pastor, plumber, missionary, musician, Sunday school teacher, or software engineer. In fact, it is actually His plan that people think that the work that He has for them to do IS the most important ministry.
Only then will the church have real balance and do all the work God has for it. We need crazies for what God has given them to do, while at the same time allow others to be crazy about what God has given them. What has God given you to do? What are you passionate about? Allow others to be passionate, God does.
// Mike Jackson