That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life...
Philippians 2:15-16a

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Where Are All the Christians?

Almost six years ago, I moved back "home."  Well, it's sort of home.  Home was way out in the sticks, so I decided to live in the city and forego the 1.5 hour drive to work everyday!  That was after 1 year of driving while living at my parents.  I don't know how my Dad did it all those years!!! I have great respect for him.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand...

It was a change going from working in a church environment to working in a secular job.  A bit of culture shock.  Not that I hadn't worked with unsaved people before, it had just been a while.  Some things bothered me GREATLY at first.  I had a hard time dealing with some of the unsaved people I worked with.  Basically, I ignored a lot of them, because I either didn't know how to deal with them, was intimidated by them, or just plain didn't want to be around their "flavoured" conversations.  Ignoring them probably wasn't the best strategy to being a good Christian testimony.  Then again, I did avoid some pretty awkward situations by simply choosing not to be around them.

One thing that really surprised me about moving back here was that it seemed I never met any Christians, even though my job brought me into contact with a lot of people on a weekly basis.  I was teaching between 40-60 private music lessons a week.  That's a student, plus parents (and often stepparents), friends of students, etc.  Of course, I knew the people who went to my church and they were all Christians, but my church only has about 20 people in it.  I thought SURELY there must be more Christians than that in this town!   I met a Catholic girl who I became friends with, and a couple of my students went to United churches or something like that.  Very mainstream and liberal, and probably not born-again.   Not that I was expecting to meet tons of independent Baptists or anything, but I thought there must be some other actual born-again Christians around.  I knew there were several large evangelical churches in town. Where were they all hiding?

I did meet a couple of Christians after about two and a half years of living here.  One in particular stands out in my mind, because she was one of my students.  I taught her for a full year (maybe a bit longer) before she ever mentioned that she was a Christian.  I had suspected she might be, but I wondered at her never bringing it up?  I usually try to mention something to my students about church, or God, or something "religious" within their first couple of lessons.  I don't try to hide the fact I'm a Christian, but I don't push it down my student's throats either.  Usually something comes up quite naturally in conversation that allows me to throw in something about church.  Like "what did you do this weekend?"  I love it when they ask me that question.  It's the perfect opening :)!  Almost invariably when I say I went to church they'll ask where I go?  I answer, and that's usually the end of it, unless the student is a Christian, at which point they may mention something about church.  With this particular student it was so strange.  I'd talk about church, singing at church, playing piano, etc., and she never said anything for a year about being a Christian.  Maybe she was shy.  Maybe she was just immature, or didn't know how to bring things up.  Maybe she was afraid of talking about God.  I don't know.  After she finally told me she was a Christian we did have some really good conversations about spiritual things.

My experience with this student taught me a valuable lesson about my witness to others.  It was easy to talk to my students about church, because most of my lessons are one-on-one.  I'm in control, no one else is listening, and it's my comfort zone.  But, what about all those people I worked with that I just ignored?  It was a lot longer, I think, before they realized I was a Christian.  Although, it did eventually come out.  But, there were other people that I met and interacted with who I never talked to about Christ.  See, I'm shy too.  Really shy.  Especially around people I don't know, and in groups.  When I'm out of my comfort zone, I don't talk much, I usually just listen for a while until I feel more at ease.  The fact that it took this student of mine a whole year to bring up anything about Christ made me determine that I would try harder in my interactions with people to let my Christianity show.  Of course, I try to look like a Christian by the way I dress and behave, but if I'm not going to talk about Christ, or if I'm going to be shy about mentioning church, God, etc. what's the point?

It's kind of ironic how we get so embarrassed to speak about the Lord.  We're so worried about what other people think.  Who cares? After all, He gave EVERYTHING He had for me!  Shouldn't we want to tell others about Him?  We should, but our flesh gets in the way.  We're spiritually weak, spiritually babies, and we care more about what the world thinks about us than about the great sacrifice our Saviour made to forgive our sins.  Think about it for a minute.  Jesus gave us everything.  He gave it ALL.  I don't think we really comprehend what that means.   In fact, I KNOW we don't really comprehend what that means. If we did, I would have met a whole lot more Christians a whole lot sooner when I first got here.  And maybe, they would have met me sooner too!

I have met other Christians here over the past few years.  Lots of them.  It just took a while for them to come around I guess :).  Some I meet and right away we know that we're both Christians.  Some it takes a little longer for it to come out, but sometimes it's hard to say whether it's them or me in that case.  I do try to make a conscious effort to let my Christianity show both by how I look, act, and speak.  People need to know that Christ is real, that He loves them, and that He died to save them.  Sometimes I wish more Christians were more vocal about the gospel.  A lot of Christians in my town will talk about church, their great worship music, retreats they go on, community dinners, prayer services, etc., but it's not often they talk about sharing the gospel with someone.  Again, this is a challenge to me, because am I any better?  Often times the answer is no, but I do try.  All I can do is try.  Sadly, I avoid a lot of the "Christian" activities that are going on in my town, because they involve things that are not biblical.  I wish it wasn't like that, but it is. I am thankful for my church that preaches the Word and encourages us to really live for Christ.  I mean REALLY live for Him.  I hope that when people see me they will see Christ.  This past Sunday my pastor said we're either leading people closer to Christ by how we live, or farther away from Him.  My prayer is that my life will be the former.

For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and umblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believed.
I Thessalonians 2:9-10

1 comment:

  1. I Corinthians 2:1-5

    1And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.

    2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

    3And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

    4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

    5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    Fear is not a good excuse because Paul said he had fear.

    Now where are the Christians? They could be any where. Some hang out with other Christians even the other days of the week. Some hang out and blend in with unsaved friends - no one knows they are Christians.

    There is a prevailing attitude among Christian university students or students in Christian universities where they think it isn't cool to talk about God or the gospel. I knew I guy who went to a popular university here who was a very consistent witness but he was also kind of "nerdy". He wasn't/isn't IFB but I would categorize him as a Fundamentalist/very Conservative Evangelical - even his views on music parallel that of most IFB's. Some in this school would be somewhat critical almost mockingly not of his views of music and such but the gospel and how to be saved and making sure they are saved. There are very few that I see who witness and sometimes it's very simplistic like this one time when a young guy told me that Jesus cares about me and cares about what I do - it makes wonder if some people are just being told what they should say instead of allowing the Spirit to help them - that is what is lacking in Christians today - the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and witness.