BRAD PETERS/A Matter of Faith
We all want to do something big.
Regardless of what jobs we do, what positions we hold, what privileges we enjoy, the majority of us want to take those things and translate them into something big, something lasting.
We want to be involved with a movement or a project that will force others to take notice of what we’ve done.
There are a whole host of reasons why this is true. For some, it’s nothing more than having others notice them, for others it’s a genuine desire to do something big for the benefit of others. Clearly, the second reason is more substantial than the first.
This attitude or desire to be noticed also impacts the world of faith.
As a pastor, I spend a great deal of my time reading – my Bible, commentaries, other faith-based works and as much contemporary and classic fiction as possible.
It’s that third category of reading material – faith-based writing – that’s concerned me of late.
Increasingly, books that suggest that Christians must lead big, dramatic, radical lives of faith seem to cross my desk. I understand that in a culture where Christianity no longer holds the prominence that it once did, reactionary thinking to this new normal leads some to think we have to draw attention to ourselves.
I don’t want to criticize these authors’ desire to see communities positively impacted by Christ through radical living and big faith initiatives, but rather to point out that Scripture suggests a smaller, quieter model for the majority of followers.
Are some called to “big gesture” faith? Absolutely, and thank God for them and their efforts – they can inform and inspire many.
But for most of the faithful, they are just not called to this type of spiritual expression.
By suggesting that this is what Christianity must look like in the 21st century is to be setting people up to fail, to second guess the validity of their faith.
If Christians really want to do something big, something radical for their faith, perhaps it’s a matter of simplicity, not extravagance.
Genuinely following Christ in the simple things, in the day-to-day realities of our life, figuring out how to live out the Great Commission of Matthew 28, and putting his teaching, and equally as importantly, his love, to work in our communities has the power to change lives for all of eternity.
And really, what’s bigger or more radical than that?
Brad Peters is the pastor of First Baptist Church Niagara Falls (3900 Dorchester Rd.) and serves as chaplain to the Niagara Falls Fire Department. You can contact him at 905-354-7836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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