Outside of our city there’s a store called “The Sock Store.” You know what you’ll find inside. They’re not distracted from their mission of selling socks. A while ago, I went sock shopping, but I went to a store that “has it all.” Ultimately, I became distracted and overwhelmed by the abundant options; I didn’t even buy socks. I did, however, go home with things I didn’t need … and cold feet.
In much of the world today, people have limitless options. Two hundred years ago John Wesley said, “I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion.”¹ Where the Church lives in an atmosphere of comfort and excess, the faith focus of members may become diluted. A believer in Eastern Europe admitted, “Some of us are voting for the Communist Party to return to power, in order to help purify the church.”¹ In Western society much of the Church has taken on corporate characteristics, offering a multitude of options to suit varying tastes, requiring little in return, for fear of losing regular attendees and contributors. Much of our accommodation is done in the name of reaching more people, but scripture says not many choose the narrow gate; most choose the wide gate. With so much available, no one wants to go where there’s only “socks,” even if socks are what we need. If it’s available and appears exciting, we want to try it.
Acts 2:42-47 gives a picture of an early church with focus. Believers exercised faith by releasing their grip on possessions, being generous with others, worshiping together, and sharing life. The result was that “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” When the church maintained its focus of teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer, more people were actually reached. Chuck Swindoll says, “When we commit ourselves to the essentials, our churches will be contagious for the right reasons.”²
The consumer trap isn’t new. Just a few chapters after the beautiful picture of the fledgling Acts 2 church, Acts 5 tells about Ananias and Sapphira = early consumers. They wanted to know, “What can we get out of this? What’s in it for us?” Within 3 hours of each other, their lives were taken, evidence God wanted believers focused on true worship, then and now.
Just like The Sock Store, people need to know the Church is about: worshiping the one true God and knowing His truth. Our goal is that people find the Savior and know Him, instead of getting caught up in consumer traps of shopping for pleasure feeding trends and, ultimately, distracting them from what they need most.
What’s distracting you from what you came to the Church for?
We are giving away a copy of The Gift of Church by Jim Samra. You can read the details of what you’ll find in the book and how to enter by clicking here.
For Further Reading:
1 What Good is God? by Philip Yancey
2 The Church Awakening by Chuck Swindoll