Bella Vista Church of Christ



Randall Caselman


Spectator vs. Ministry


  Christianity is not a spectator sport. Religion, our relationship with God, is not based upon our attending worship services. It has much more to do with what is going on in our heart. Jesus came to take the Law of Moses out of the physical and place our religion in the heart. Hate became mental murder, lust became mental adultery. He was the One who said it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks. Life behaviors come from the heart, both good and bad. It's easy to attend a Worship Service once a week, even three times a week. It's quite another thing to purify the heart, become God's temple, His instrument of righteousness, His living sacrifice, a living stone in His spiritual house, a royal priest, a holy person who belongs to God because we are doing God's work. Church, we're not God's person just because we gather on Sunday morning. Our relationship with God, our righteousness, is seen in service! We're better Bible students than to think that Christian duty is bound up in attendance, being a spectator. We must become participants in His kingdom work, in kingdom responsibility. Jesus pictured the kingdom of God as a place of work; a field, a vineyard, a merchant, a Steward, a landlord, etc. Our relationship with Him is found in our finding our purpose, gift, blessing, talent, responsibility; it's found in finding our place and putting ourselves to work in His kingdom - Ministry!


  When we stand in judgment, God is not going to ask how many church services we attended, but what we did in His kingdom. At Bella Vista, we need additional deacons, teachers, van drivers, those who will visit the sick, shut-ins, the elderly, lonely and needy. Grab a Ministry Sheet and count the areas of work listed, well over forty! What are we thinking? When Jesus paints a picture of judgment, it’s not about being a spectator, but about serving the Jesus in others. So the question becomes, why aren't we involved in His service? What keeps us from finding our place and purpose in His Kingdom?...


  Perhaps it's a lack of commitment. At Mount Sinai it was: 'No other gods before Me." From Jesus: "Love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul." Commitment is giving God His rightful place in our lives. For most of us, we made a decision for Jesus years ago, but have we made a commitment?  Marriage is a commitment. We made a decision to get married, but the real success in a marriage is based upon commitment. If there is no commitment with our decision, divorce becomes a reality. A pilot going down the runway must make a commitment to fly. As a plane gains speed, there comes an invisible line that, when crossed, the pilot must commit to take off. At that point the speed of the aircraft is too fast to abort; if he does,a crash is imminent. Question! Have we made a decision or a commitment? Ministry is a commitment! Are we a spectator or minister?


  A focus on self. Welive in a "It's about me" culture, narcissism rules! Life is notabout us, but about our becoming like Jesus. His agenda must become our agenda."This is how we know we are in Him: Whoeverclaims to live in Him must walk as Jesus walked." Jesus said: "Anyonewho will not... Follow me cannot be my disciple." The statement ofJesus on genuine discipleship contains only three words: "Come followMe." Discipleship is about walking as Jesus walked, following in Hisfootsteps. Opportunities to become like Jesus are found in ministry, not in attendance.Don't pass that invisible line where our relationship with Jesus crashesbecause we would not serve. Gotta ask, are we a spectator or minister?


  Our Western world thinking. We have a western world mind-set, which is not always a good thing. Westerners don't serve, we rule. Servants are seen as humble beings; rulers are kings! We want to be in charge. We're not content until we become the CEO. But it was Jesus who said: "The greatest among you is he who serves." Church, we must let go of our pride, our Western mentality, and become servants. Think on these scriptures: "The Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation" (Psalm 149.4). James says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble... Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." Let's be willing to wrap the Jesus towel of service about our waist and wash feet. Abundant foot washing opportunities are found all about us. Do we have a towel? Are we ministers or spectators?


  We don't see God in our opportunities. I think I can remember a time in the church when we believed that God didn't still work in the lives of His people, equipping them for ministry. Here's the truth: "His power is at work in us" (Ephesians 3.21). The Hebrews' writer says: "God will equip us with all we need to do His will" (Hebrews 13.21). Paul says, "Be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" (Philippians 1.6). Indeed, God is at work in us! God is working through His ministry system to provide us with opportunities, not to just attend services, but to serve. Will we become Spectators or Ministers?


  May God bless our thoughts on this challenge, and may He bless our decisions to serve. Amen?