The May issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY carries some informative and interesting articles, among which, is a book review of Richard Stearn's book, Unfinished: Believing is Only the Beginning. The review, written by Collin Hansen, got my attention with Hansen's quote from the book, "Christians have everything they need to finish Jesus' mission--except the willpower."
Knowing of Richard Stearns work with World Vision, and his previous outstanding book, The Hole in Our Gospel, I was drawn to see what his new book was about. From the teaser in the written review, it's apparently going to take aim at Christians, equipped for service, but with no willpower. Ouch!
I read a little more and Stearns hit me again with another line from his book. He all but calls some of us by name when he says, "affluent, comfortable, and distracted" Christians no longer burn with passion to change the world. Ouch, again!
Those two quotes are enough to get me to read the book, but I want us, based on the quotes given, to see if there is an application here that fits us.
Here's the first one again: "Christians have everything they need to finish Jesus' mission--except the willpower." This brings me to ask Christians today (and I'm asking myself, too) if they, in becoming Christians, inherited not only the blessings of God's love and forgiveness, but also the task of finishing Jesus' mission on earth? While the answer is a resounding YES, I'm afraid that is not among the motives of most of us. I thank and praise God for those whose lives are devoted to mission activities in reaching the unreached and teaching the untaught, even those close to home. Richard Stearns himself left a profitable position in the business world to lead what is now one of the largest non-profit humanitarian groups on earth. He is quick to point out everyone may not be called to do something like that but think of the accomplishments for God if we actually did the things God calls us to do. Stearns probably hits the nail on the head of the problem. It's a lack of willpower.
And the second quote one more time: "affluent, comfortable, and distracted" Christians no longer burn with passion to change the world. That's quite a description of Christians today. Affluent? We have become a society which adheres to the principle, "If there is nothing in this for me, count me out." Comfortable? Again we fall into the downward spiral of a worldly trap, "If I am called to do something or give something that takes me outside my comfort zone, get someone else for the job." Distracted? That's probably the part that convicts us the most. We allow other activities, events, commitments, and plans to get in the way of our vows to God and our world remains unchanged. The early Christians like Peter preaching on Pentecost and Paul on his missionary journeys, had world changing commitment. It's time all of us were committed to making our world a heavenly place.
I can't wait to read Mr. Stearn's book. The review I read today has me excited, as all of us should be excited, about fulfilling the mission of our Lord, and renewing our passion to change the world.