Last week Lance Armstrong made his way to Sacramento for a race I know nothing about (Amgen Tour of California). I do, however, know plenty about Lance Armstrong and I do know his appearance made headlines. And while Armstrong reportedly chose to participate just for "fun," we all know Lance's participation brings along with it a certain wow-factor (and probably a little controversy).
Along those lines, I'm wondering if my presence at my own church gatherings increases the quality of the church. Are the others able to tell that I (just like Annas, Caiaphas, and the rest could tell of Peter and John) "had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13)?
While enjoying lunch with a friend this week, I was reminded how important it is that my primary life 'paradigm' be Jesus-centered. Who am I, really, at the core? And what am I after, really, in this world? Security? Peer-approval? Self-centered adventure? Recognition?
Although I'm not too quick to judge (rarely are things as they seem), I know others aren't where they need to be either. Like the smoker who says he's quit though stench of his clothes tells me otherwise, there's just something not quite right about the whole thing. No, I can't always put my finger on it, but it's there, some hidden weight that doesn't allow the wheel of their soul to spin true.
They say the church in the west is ailing, most likely due to its selling out to a consumer culture. And although that may be true, pointing fingers does me no good. Instead, I must ask myself, am I part of the problem? Has the idol of consumerism overtaken me, too?
I sometimes ask myself, what if the entire church was filled with little Jesus's? What if Jesus, really, was our life's paradigm? Now that would be something! But some say, that'll never happen, we're all sinners. Well, tell that to David, a known sinner and a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22)! While I realize we're all imperfect, I just can't shake Jesus's command to "be perfect" just as "[our] heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). It's as if God is shouting, I will not give up on you! You can do it!
The church is only as good as her disciples. Indeed, Jesus, the son of the Most High God, needs to be our life's paradigm. That's a good reminder, isn't it?