I wince every time I read a new report revealing the fact that followers of Jesus, in America, don’t really live all that differently than unbelievers and agnostics. In a report written over a decade ago, Ronald Sider summed up the issue in his Christianity Today article; “By their daily activity, most ‘Christians’ regularly commit treason. With their mouths they claim that Jesus is Lord, but with their actions they demonstrate allegiance to money, sex, and self-fulfillment.” It always bums me out when I see people, who have said “yes” to Jesus offer of salvation and have some kind of a desire to follow Him, practically living no differently than unbelievers in their home-life, jobs, and life-purpose.
I get even more confused by this phenomena when I run into an agnostic who is practically acting like a believer. Yesterday afternoon, I was walking home from shooting some hoops with my son Josh. On the way, we ran into my neighbor who was walking his dog. I checked in, as I always do, and discovered he’d just gotten back from Las Vegas. He choked up as he re-told the story of seeing the reports on TV, sobbing over the evil, and just deciding to load up his Registered ER Nurse credentials, bottles of water, and snacks and just show up to one of the hospitals in Las Vegas to help. He could barely hold back the tears as he told me the story of helping families who lost loved ones just one week ago. My neighbor has been very clear that he’s no fan of evangelical Christians, but he talks to me even though he knows I’m a pastor. He shared with me that he worked alongside of Christians from many faith-based medical agencies, and all kinds of people to serve the broken hearted by just listening, handing out water, listening some more and just helping in any way he could. My neighbor was living like a practical follower of Jesus and I told him so. I said to him, “Friend I know you don’t ‘buy’ – or what’s the right word – ‘agree’ with what I believe about the person of Jesus Christ, but I want you to know that you were working for His kingdom and I want to thank you for it.” He just smiled and said, “Oh I’m not against Jesus. I know He’s real and I’m happy to be a part of what He teaches – I’m just not ready to convert.” Man, how I wish a larger majority of Jesus’ followers who genuinely love Jesus would be as moved by compassion to use their skills to make a difference in this world like my agnostic neighbor.