Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Missed Detail

So, I know there's a fair bit of chatter about the state of the Church, especially in the Western world, what with the general sense of apathy and decline stemming from a lack of understanding, from both non-Christians and Christians alike, about the nature and role of the Church.

Many tout all the good, humanitarian, and fuzzy aspects, notable a very vague sense of love and "looking after orphans and widows."

Now, looking after orphans and widows is correct; that is an admonishment found in James Ch.1, but that's only part of the admonishment. The full verse says:
"Religion that God, our Father, accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." - James 1:27, NIV
So, yes, we are supposed to be looking after the poor, the hungry, the needy, but there's a second clause, one that is supposed to separate us from just another charity - living apart from the world.

By this, I mean that we, as Christians, are to be engaging the world, but not entranced or sucked in by it. we are not to be indulging in the world's sinful ideals and fantasies, but remaining clean from them.

I like to think of it as a pig farmer. Every day, he dons his coveralls and wades into the muck of the sty to tend and treat his pigs, but at the end of the day, he leaves the sty, removes his coveralls, showers, and eats his own food. He does not live with the pigs, rolling in the filth and eating their slop, but yet he is there every day, tending to them and raising them.

In a similar way, we need to be acting as Christians - going out and tending to the world and its needs, but at the end of the day, not dwelling in and receiving sustenance from the world, but from God, his righteousness and holiness should be what sustains us in our work, what pushes us forward, and what refreshes us at the end of the day.