Christians are embarrassing.
Pretty much everyday i find something that proclaimed Christians do that makes me embarrassed to be one. They vote republican blindly. They proliferate bigotry. They worship their church buildings. They talk in ways that no one else understands. They defend things they don’t need to and abandon people that do. They are more about material emperialism than God’s Kingdom. And, they look and act, well . . . goofy.
Ok, so not all Christians. There certainly are people that are trying to live their lives in the grace and love that Jesus taught and gave freely. But it does seem like there is a lot of disappointment among Christians in our generation, doesn’t there? In fact, most the time i don’t even identify myself by that title anymore. I prefer, “Follower of Jesus” or about anything else that identifies myself with God, but not the stereotypical “Christian.”
However, occasionally, a Christian might just pop up and surprise you. In this case, even a whole church body.
Several months ago a large storm hit the Oregon coast where my family lives. We are talking 85 mph winds, sustained, and gusts up to 120 mph for about 16 hours. And when the storm hit, it basically devastated the entire region. It was declared a federal disaster area, people were being helicoptered out of their homes, and every highway in or out was completely blocked by hundreds and hundreds of downed trees.
My dad is a preacher in a small rural church there on the Oregon coast. And after the storm, they found that their church roof was old, leaking, missing shingles and needing repair. However the cost of replacing an entire roof of the building was a huge cost for a church of 50-60 people.
So, one member went home and called her sister on the east coast to tell her to pray that the church would be able to finance it. This sister then went to her weekly small prayer group of women from her church. She shared the prayer request, they prayed, and at the end one woman said she felt called to help in the situation. So they took an offering among just a few women and collected $500.00
But the story didn’t end there. This sister then went to her church leaders. She told the story of this small church that was reaching the disenfranchised on the Oregon coast and the obstacle they faced with their roof. And these remarkable leaders looked at their church budget and saw that they had brought in more monetary gifts that year than they created a budget for. And so they had already sent 2/3 of this overrun to other ministries and had kept 1/3 for their own ministry. But, after hearing this story, these CHRISTIANS decided to send their third of the overrun to a little church in Astoria, Oregon that they had never been to so they could fix their roof.
Crazy thing. They didn’t just ask to pay for the re-roofing bill. Instead, last week, this small church in Oregon received a check from brothers and sisters on the east coast that they will probably never meet this side of heaven for $15,600.00.
Will the roof even cost that much? I doubt it. Maybe only 2/3 of it. But the church told them to keep whatever was leftover and use it to bless the community of Astoria by extending their ministry in it to the disenfranchised.
Wow. I don’t even know what to say. Most churches i know are so concerned about building their own little empires they don’t even consider the needs of other churches. How can we build a bigger building? What would a new HD projector cost? Would more kids be attracted to our youth ministry if we paid for a climbing wall? I mean, this church wasn’t even in their own denomination! And who would have cared whether a tiny church in rural Oregon that no one has ever heard of would have gotten a new roof?
I gotta say, when i see people acting in sacrifice and love, in the way of Jesus . . . it makes me proud to be a Christian. You can say a lot about the people just giving themselves the label of Christian but when you encounter people branded with the life of Christ and caring more about His cause than their own agendas, it feels different and their lives leave behind a trail of impact.
So, for today, I’m a Christian. I just hope I’m one that other people are proud of too.