When Jesus called people to follow Him, He pulled no punches. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) That’s a pretty intense calling and way out of synch with the way many people view church and following Jesus in our day.
It is likely that you do not have a stone or wooden idol in your home or yard to which you bow down each day. That does not mean, however, that you do not have idols. Two of the most prevalent idols we have in the United States are Comfort and Convenience. We evaluate what comes into our lives by these two pragmatic gods. Does it make me more or less comfortable? Is it convenient or inconvenient? We carry these idols with us when we enter the church.
Church is fine when it is convenient. Church is great if it doesn’t move me out of my comfort zone. But to ask me to give or to serve or (God forbid) to share my faith with someone – that’s just taking this following Jesus thing a bit too far. I want a church that is there when I need it and leaves me alone when I don’t. I want a church that doesn’t expect much of me, doesn’t ask anything of me, and is just happy I show up from time to time. I’m looking for the Church of the Least Common Denominator.
Maybe it is what you think you want, but is it what you need? And is it what you want deep down? Wouldn’t you rather have a church that embraced eternal, unchanging truth? Wouldn’t you rather have a real connection with people who know you and love you anyway? Wouldn’t you rather serve alongside people who weren’t in it just to make themselves look good? Wouldn’t you rather invest yourself and your resources in something that would last beyond your lifetime and make a real difference in the people around you? That will not be found at the Church of the Least Common Denominator.
Being a part of a church is more than just having your name on the church role. It is being intimately connected with people who share your faith and share your life. It is costly and rewarding. And you may discover that Convenience and Comfort aren’t worthy of your devotion.