This post is inspired by a recent post of Alan’s from The Assembling of the Church called Grace to be Wrong. Alan’s post is about having the attitude of grace when confronted with people who disagree with us. Since I have begun my journey with Christ, I have learned the importance of adopting this attitude of grace. I am not claiming that I have mastered it, but I definitely recognize it.
Something that I have been meditating on a lot lately is that Jesus tells us that his burden is light (Matt. 11:30). Given the little observations I have made while a Christian, through various conversations, church visits, seminary classes, convention news, etc. It seems like we keep trying to make Jesus’ burden very heavy, even to the point that Jesus has little to do with it. It is not just the full-time vocational pastor – who in most cases takes on the full load of 100+ people – it is everyone. It is our flesh that turns God’s grace into a heavy burden. And most of the people do not even recognize the burden they are baring. In my opinion, this is part of the reason why we see people rejecting the attitude of grace – they think that their heavy burden is a litmus test for true Christianity but this is antithetical to the good news of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that he planted, Apollos watered, but it was God who gave the increase.
My wife and I have made our very first attempt at planting a garden. We tried to till the ground (best we could). We dug little holes and put the seeds in just as we were instructed. We have watered the ground just about every day. However, doing these things could have in no way guaranteed growth. But we are not required to grow the vegetables, we are only required to obey the simple instructions given to us.
This realization has changed many things for me. For instance when I teach, I go just simply teach. I have realized that it is not my duty to get peoples attention, it is not my duty to make people change, it is not my duty guilt people, etc. What then is my duty when I teach? Well, I believe the only requirement to teach is to actually teach. Of course teaching should be done in a loving, edifying, and understanding way.
If people do on consider the council of God, than that is between them and God. We have do not bear that burden for them. When Paul preached at to the Athenians some left, some wanted to hear more, and some stuck around. I do not see any evidence of Paul spicing up his sermons to get more numbers. He presented the truth and let the chips fall where they may.
This does not just apply to teaching either, it applies to all things we do as Christians. We need to realize that God is in control and we only need to worry about obeying him in what he has called us to do. Beyond what God has asked from us is a burden we put on ourselves and is not at all from God.