I hear too much grumbling in Christian circles today, and I’m afraid it’s a sign we are “of little faith.”
Oh, it’s so terribly hard to be faithful in sharing the gospel in the Bible Belt because of “cultural Christianity” and all the confusion about the true gospel!
Southern pastors complain about cultural Christianity and think it would be easier elsewhere. Northern and urban pastors do the opposite.
Oh, if only you knew how hard it is to be a Christian in the urban, unchurched regions of our country because there’s so little respect or interest in Christianity at all!
On the horizon is the question of what shape our public witness to the gospel should take.
Meanwhile, the ideology of the Sexual Revolution continues to spread. GenX and Baby Boomer pastors murmur about having to talk about sex all the time.
I wish there were other, bigger debates going on right now.
It’s hard to live in the messiness of this era, when we’re seeking to be steadfast and faithful to the Word of God while also showing compassion toward all kinds of people.
Can’t we just punt on this one and get on to other subjects?
Grumbling about this cultural moment usually leaves us wistful for another.
And so, we yearn for the past, wondering what it would have been like to experience the growth of the early church, or join the church fathers in their affirmation of orthodoxy, or protest social injustice and doctrinal error with the Reformers, or minister during the great awakenings, or replay the fundamentalist vs. modernists debates of last century.
Oh, we of little faith!
We will never be faithful in the present as long as we are yearning for the past. The only era we should long for is a future one, when the kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven.
Our griping about the current moment gives voice to the resentment we feel because we are facing these challenges in these days. That complaint says to God: “You’ve put me in the wrong time and place. I don’t like the assignment you’ve given me.”
To which, I imagine, God says: My precious children, this is your time.
And then, all the saints who throng the stands of the great heavenly coliseum, these faithful witnesses hidden by the clouds, stand up, cheer us on, and say: “Stop grumbling about the race, and start groaning in anticipation of the victory. RUN!”
The shot has been fired. It is our time on the track.
Is now the time to complain about the cultural winds and bad weather?
Is now the time to complain about the shallowness or rockiness or thorniness of the soil?
Is now the time to complain about the way the runners right in front of us have stumbled and, at times, fallen?
No. This is the time to savor the strain, to revel in the toil, and to see the barriers as benchmarks. The glory of running the race is that it’s hard, not easy. The darker the moment the more glorious the piercing of light!
Ten years ago, older millennials were all singing John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” Well, it did. Now, we’re up. It’s our turn.
This is the world that God has called us to serve. And this is our moment of service and calling.
Enough with the murmuring and on with the mission! This is our time.
Trevin Wax is the Bible and Reference Publisher at Lifeway Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. He is the author of several books, including This Is Our Time now available now for pre-order. He blogs at Kingdom People.