How much of what we learn at church on Sunday morning makes it into our lives Monday through Saturday?
I attend church, of course, sing songs of worship, diligently take notes on a usually excellent teaching, and visit with fellow attenders. As it should be.
Then I go home to live the other 166 hours in the week.
Monday through Saturday is when we get a chance to put our faith into action.
Church is a community of believers that we meet with once a week, at least, to encourage us to keep the faith. I love the local church. It is a place where a pastor, or priest, speaks truth from God’s Word, where we are trained to follow Jesus, and where we can learn from others’ experiences. We pray for each other, we serve one another, we laugh with others and sometimes we cry with them.
Sunday morning is geared toward filling us with information and inspiration. We are each then responsible to act according to what we know; knowledge is responsibility.
Churches have been trying to figure out how to transfer Sunday’s teaching to the rest of the week for quite a while. Too many people compartmentalize their Christian experience to Sunday morning and it has little to no effect on the rest of the week.
I wonder if part of the root problem is that American Christians are torn between two competing goals for their lives: personal success or following Jesus.
Our culture tells us that we should grab wealth, become successful, and live the good life now. Christianity teaches us, or at least should teach us, that we are to live for God’s glory, follow Jesus, trust Him, and that He will take care of us.
God is incredibly generous, and he desires to give his people gifts of health, wealth and success. It doesn’t always work out that way in this messed up world, however, and then we face a choice: trust the cultural value system or trust Jesus.
Christianity has not always challenged the American value system.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave a commencement address at Harvard in 1978 in which he gave his thoughts on the growing divide between the two value systems.*
“…in early democracies…all individual human rights were granted on the ground that man is God’s creature. That is, freedom was given to the individual conditionally, in the assumption of his constant religious responsibility. Such was the heritage of the preceding one thousand years. Two hundred or even fifty years ago, it would have seemed quite impossible, in America, that an individual be granted boundless freedom with no purpose, simply for the satisfaction of his whims…” Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Christian churches have the potential to teach us the difference between worldly values, freedom used for our own personal satisfaction, and Christian truth, following Jesus for God’s glory. If they can do that well, maybe we’ll notice more faith Monday through Saturday.
What do you think would help Christians live their faith Monday through Saturday?
*Quoted in the book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber, p. 74-76