The Salt Series III: The Mission (Change Your World)
The blog post you are about to read is an excerpt from my editorial column in MINE Magazine, Nigeria.
“Thou O Lord are highly exalted. Thou O Lord are mighty. You have called us out of darkness to experience your marvellous light so we can be change agents in this world. I pray thus; may we realise this calling upon us, its urgency and get into action as we engage the world around us. I ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.”
Dear reader, let me warn you ahead; this edition of the Salt Series is different. I pray it hurts some. I pray it heals all. I pray it pricks your conscience. But beyond that, may your heart connect with your hands as you get up and pursue your true Christian mission on earth. ACT WE MUST!
Salt never tastes like sugar. Ponder that for several seconds before you continue reading. Salt has clarity about its purpose and what it is intended to achieve; and it does it so well without compromise. I have come to realise that the reason so many Christians lose spiritual power and relevance is because we do not understand our purpose and mission on earth. Why are you here? You can never be at your best if don’t understand your use.
I believe with a passion that our mission on earth is to be World Changers; not church-goers, pew-sitters, bench-warmers and ‘spiritual-fanatics’ who lack God-inspired actions to back up their claims.
In Matthew chapters 5 to 7, Jesus engaged his disciples on what we now know to be The Sermon on the Mount. There he set out for them (and us) a roadmap and mandate of what the Christian life is about. The sum of his teaching was this: live the God-intended life. What is the God-intended life, one may ask. Let’s not beat about the bush or try to confuse ourselves with theological ambiguities. Let’s keep it very simple – the essence of the Christian life on earth is summed up in two key elements: love God and love man, both through practical service (Mark 12:30-31). The problem is we think we have mastered service to God because of our ‘spiritual’ engagements in the church. We praise ourselves or feel safe because we are ushers, choristers or heads of church departments. But I question this mentality. And I am passionate about my objections.
In the past 12 months, I have grown very angry and uneasy at the church for our display of spiritual prowess that lacks relevance in our immediate, local society. I have grown uneasy when church-owned/run universities and schools charge one of the most exorbitant tuition fees and are unable to subsidise fees for the poor in its own local community. I am irked by the church that is not committed to securing the future of its younger generation by ensuring provision of education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I am upset at the church that collects massive tithes and offerings every week but not actively using its network in society to empower its youths with work, placement and entrepreneurial opportunities to reduce the rate of poverty and crime in the society. Statistics on the state of the Nigerian education system is alarming: 70-80% of students who undertake JAMB either fail or are unable to secure a place at their university or programme of choice. THAT IS A NATIONAL CRISIS! A MONUMENTAL DISASTER! Why should I care about a church that is passionate about building a 40,000-seater auditorium but not passionate about feeding the homeless on its streets!
Why should I care about a church that runs three Sunday services (and potentially amass huge offerings) but not passionate about missions! Why should I care about a ‘Christian’ community that is only interested in how we look on Sunday and what we drive on Friday but not passionate about the literal poverty it is surrounded with! 8.3 million Nigerian children are out of school, 4 in 5 Nigerian children who sat for GSCE failed in 2009 and millions more live in extreme poverty and we are dancing ‘Hallelujah’ that we are going to heaven! Which heaven???
What are we doing? We are called to be World Changers – that’s what salt does! Let’s read the bible again; Jesus wasn’t building mansions and auditorium, Paul didn’t go to the Jerusalem church to network for business contracts. What are we doing today? How are we making our faith practically relevant in our immediate society? What are we doing that will make people say “These are indeed Christ-like!” Jesus stepped down from heaven and engaged with local people with common issues. He got his hands ‘dirty’ serving every community he stepped into with a glorious passion. He was a World Changer; our model indeed!
We are not called to be church workers confined to the four walls of the church… read your bible again I say. Let me fast forward this series a bit to drive home my point. In Matthew 5, Jesus said we are the light of the world. Consider this: light is meant for darkness, not for other lights. So why do we have too many lights shinning (or rather competing) in the church when we should be engaging with the world in darkness by demonstrating to them God’s power and grace through the love of Christ. What are we doing!!! We must get up and seek to make our faith relevant.
Many folks have lost faith in the power of the church because we have lost our relevance in society. The notion of the Christian life for many has become stylish and fashionable. We have become so busy with retreats and conventions, focusing excessively on our eternal reward while we neglect the very earthly commission that will get us to heaven. We only fool ourselves if we continue like this.
How can we be salt to our society? How can we be World Changers? Well, look at Jesus and you will have all the answers. Let’s build and proactively support community activities that recognise and improve the lives of the poor, homeless, helpless, hurting and (believe it or not) faithless. Let the world see that we are humans and not some spiritual aliens that refuse to engage with people because we see them differently. Is this a licence to become unequally yoked together with unbelievers? God forbid!!! On the contrary, this is a call to live as Jesus lived – he engaged, he was not afraid to touch lives and make his faith relevant in very practical ways. Jesus was and is the perfect salt; let’s be like him.
Let’s stop showing off our lights in the church and among Christians – shine where you are needed most; in this dark world. All the world needs is you (Christ in you). And you have all it takes to change your world.
Be a salt. Be relevant. Don’t waste your life! Church: don’t waste your relevance. ACT WE MUST!
God help us!!!