This is the second in a series of three blogs concerning involvement and activism in the modern day church. The Pareto Principle simply states that twenty percent of any given system is responsible for eighty percent of its productivity. Church goers have long seen this played out in the life of their local churches. In the previous blog I addressed the twenty-percenters reminding them that obedience to Divine directives has never been popular, widely practiced, or appreciated. The promise of avoiding the second death is the payoff for faithfulness in the face of both opposition and apathy. This blog will address the eighty-percenters and the next, the hostile world who cares nothing for either group.
To the Eighty-percenters:
Those of you who think the church exists to minister to your needs are by far and away a greater hindrance to the spread of scriptural holiness than all the atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists combined. You will attend the main service but are rarely seen Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, whenever prayer meetings are held, or most any other special gathering of the community of faith (unless there is a meal involved).
You want to “serve” on the pastoral oversight committee and the finance committee but want nothing to do with outreach or evangelism. If things don’t go the way you want them to you will not hesitate to make it known that you are considering taking your money and family somewhere else. You have no qualms about holding the church hostage unless and until your demands are met.
The most curious and disappointing aspect about you is how you constantly throw up hindrances and roadblocks before the twenty-percenters who are not only carrying their load but yours too. You just can’t seem to stand the thought of your church engaging society and participating in the culture war that is raging. You’ve bought hook, line, and sinker into the mantra coming from liberals and humanists that the First Amendment only protects your right to worship as you wish within the walls of your church rather than the freedom to express your religion openly.
Rather than hungering and thirsting for righteousness (Matthew 5:6) you seem to hunger for compliments on your station in life and thirst for approval from liberals and progressives in culture. You have heard what Jesus said about salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) yet you are still all about fitting in with culture. At some point I know your pastor or Sunday School teacher has brought up James 4:4 which says, “whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” It doesn’t seem to faze you.
When will you realize that the world you crave acceptance and approval from is just using you and could, in truth, care less about you? Have you read and considered the Sermon on the Mount? Who do you think Jesus is addressing at the end of it when He says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…”? Notice, these are people who call Him “Lord.” He goes on to talk about those who call Him Lord and do His will shall be saved while those who call Him Lord and do not do what He says will not.
You see, this isn’t just about being aggravated that you won’t pull your weight in church and that you seem to repeatedly align yourselves with whichever way the cultural winds seem to be blowing rather than the eternal word of God. This is about something much more serious. You should read the letter to the church at Sardis in Revelation 3:1-6. Jesus says, “You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” He counsels them to “Wake up…for I have not found your works complete in the sight of God.” You see, it matters not one whit how you are viewed by those who seek to marginalize Christian faith and practice in this world for your “progressivism.” What matters is what your goals, ambitions, and accomplishments (and the inner drive behind them) look like in the sight of God.
Eighty-percenter: the world will cast you aside like so much trash as soon as it gets what it wants. Once sin is legitimized by our government don’t think for a second you will be appreciated for your acceptance or lauded for your assistance. You will quickly find out how fruitless it was to play the middle against both sides. You will be told to sit down, shut up, and crawl back into the hole you crawled out of. Not only will you find out you gained virtually nothing from your sit-back-and-watch strategy but you will have lost so very much more.
Why don’t you start spending some quality time in prayer and Bible study? Consider this rather large and universal statement by Paul to Timothy: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). “All” means all. When have you been persecuted for your godly living? When was the last time you found yourself at the kneeling altar in your church seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness? Repentance is not a once in a lifetime thing with God, you know.
Remember Sardis? This was the church with folks who prided themselves on their reputations (Revelation 3:1-6). The admonition from Christ was to “Wake up.” The warning was “If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you” (v. 3). Did you catch that? Jesus says to people in a church “I will come against you.” You don’t really want that do you, eighty-percenter?
Start off small. Start going to church more than just once a week. Slip into prayer meeting. Crack open your Bible in Genesis and commit to reading it through Revelation. Pray for your pastor (it is Pastor Appreciation Month after all). Visit the altar at the front of the church. Ask God where He could best use you in the struggle for faith and freedom. Most importantly, start sharing your story. The least you can do for the One who died on a cross for you is to “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19).