Saturday, 31 January 2009
Guest post by crevis05
Throughout history, people have always tried to gain power over others. This is why we have government, and wars, and such. Max Weber defines power as the ability to coerce or to impose your will on others. This is a huge problem with the Church. Because their is such a large amount of conservative Christians in the U.S., they hunger for power, so they try to impose their will on others. This is why their was such an outrage when the California Supreme Court struck down the ban on gay marriage, and why their is such an upheaval over abortion.
These are strictly power moves, to try and get people to follow Christianity whether they believe or not. The good news though, their is another way. As with all things Christendom, their is a better way.
Jesus didn't use such meaningless and petty power moves. Jesus didn't hunger for power. He was tempted to rule the entire world, but he knew power is useless in The Kingdom. Jesus lived with authority. Weber says authority is the legitimate right in the eyes of others to expect that proposals will be embraced and followed. Jesus had authority, that is why he could tell people to "Sin no more."
Here in lies the question: How do you make the jump from power to authority? It's much simpler than one would assume, and it is something Jesus tells us to do.
I'm going to share a story from a book I'm reading titled Red Letter Christians, by Tony Campolo. This entire post, actually, was inspired by this book.
In the Dominican Republic, their was a doctor named Elias Santana. He was a promising young doctor and he could have become very rich by using his gifts, instead, he lived a sacrificial life. He spent some time earning big fees from the rich. When he was finished, he would buy medical supplies, go to the slums, and give free medical help to the poor. When he was finished, he would preach the gospel.
One day, Juan Perez was in attendance. Juan is an atheist leader of the Young Communist Association at the Autonoma University of the Dominican Republic and a prominent member of the Socialist Party. He was asked what he thought about Elias preaching. His response was Elias earned the right to be heard.
Bingo! This is how we are supposed to live, and this is how we gain the authority needed to preach the gospel. Elias didn't do anything fancy, He didn't put on a big spectacle of the gospel. He lived a life of sacrifice, just as Jesus did. Sacrificial living is the answer. Through sacrifice, authority is established.
Who would you listen to, given the chance? Someone who goes out of their way for you, and has your best interest in heart, or someone who only wants you to follow them for their own pride.
So, in order to preach the Gospel to all the nations, like Jesus commanded in the great commission, we must first be a servant to all the nations. Actions speak louder than words. If we as Christians, were to sacrifice everything for the world on a daily basis, the world would be better off.
How have you sacrificed something for a non-believer, whether it be your time, money, house, or anything? Did it make a difference in that persons life? Were they changed by your sacrifice?