About two week ago, I watched a sermon, “Lukewarm and loving it,” by Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love and teaching pastor at Cornerstone Church at Simi Valley. A good way and a good reminder to begin the 40 days of Lent. Like his book, Chan poignantly points out the danger of being lukewarm:
Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church…so long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living.
Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right.
Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want to be saved from the penalty of their sin.
Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends.
Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor.
Lent is about sacrifice. We commemorate Lent to remember how Jesus has sacrificed everything and suffered for us. There would not be a Cross if Jesus only gave comfortably. We wouldn’t know about repentance and the grave danger of sin if He only preaches what’s popular. And there wouldn’t be any Good News if all Jesus cared was Himself.
Chan opened his sermon by pointing out the way we live is strange. Most of the world live on $2 a day. It’s strange for us to live 100 times of their means and thinking that they are the weird ones. We have our house, our car, and our closet of clothes - but forget the majesty of God. Compare to our “richness,” Our God is still way bigger. He the creator of Heaven and Earth and He is the sustainer of all. During the sermon, Chan wondered why we rather have the tiny, temporary, worthless richness than God and Kingdom richness.
I am afraid for myself. I begin to see how much I have and begin to feel the friction of giving up. Jesus tells a parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matt. 13:44) The treasure of God is so great that nothing else compares, and the joy of having God leaves no room for regards for earthly treasure.
Last week, Dave Toycen, CEO and president of World Vision Canada came and preached at MacDiv’s chapel. He said in North America, people blame God when disaster strikes. Contrarily, those who are living in disaster-stricken countries think that they don’t have anything else but God.
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matt. 19:24)
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?