We were living in the country of Indonesia in a gated and walled community.
There were lots of rich people there. I worked at their private school as a kindergarten teacher. We had an Olympic size swimming pool at the school, a regular size pool, a climbing wall, and equestrian facilities. The children had the option of participating in ballet classes weekly or in horseback riding.
The walled community that we lived in had its own mall, hospital and country club.
There were so many rich people living there - millionaires.
I think that the community was established by a billionaire, Mr. Riady, famous and maybe even infamous throughout Asia and the world.
Mr. Riady was a Christian it seems and passionate about Christianity it seems.
But then, the country of Indonesia fell into chaos.
The ‘thugs’ started rioting due to an economic collapse.
They started burning and looting. They climbed the wall of our posh community and tried to wreak havoc.
I still remember looking out of the 2nd floor window of my town home past the giant wall in our backyard and seeing groups of ‘thugs’ walking into the community.
It was stressful!
They brought in an armored tank to protect us.
And soldiers with machine guns. It wasn’t long before they loaded us, the foreigners, onto planes and flew us out of the country.
We escaped the chaos and were protected from the ‘thugs.’ Wow! What an experience!
I was a member of a country club once.
But only for a short time. I loved it there! They had a nice pool. It resembled the Garden of Eden. A lush facility where you could escape from the world. It had a wall to keep the ‘thugs’ out.
Sometimes, it feels like we as Christians have been guilty of building our own country clubs.
I wonder if that is what Christ had in mind when He said, “Go make disciples of all nations”?
We built giant walls to keep the ‘thugs’ out and to help maintain our Garden of Eden and tranquility. It is nice to have a place to escape the chaos of the world and the ‘thugs.’
But, I wonder if this is what Christ had in mind when He said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Have we lost something in the church?
Have we become guilty of building Christian country clubs?
Have we drifted away from His command to “make disciples” and have instead tried to fashion ‘thugs’ into pretty Christians to join our comfy clubs?
Did you know that some Christians will not go to 'church' unless everything is comfortable to them - lights, pews, temperature, the music, the message, the weather outside...???
I like my club. I like the pretty music. I like the encouraging words from the preacher. I like the fact that I can escape there every week and hide from the chaos. And then go home.
There is definite benefit to all of this and I like it too. But, I wonder if this is what Christ had in mind exactly.
Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19)
In order to make a disciple, you must be a disciple.
Maybe we have confused being a disciple of Christ with wearing Christian t-shirts, having Christian bumper stickers on our cars, attending church regularly (especially near the holidays) and posting Christian stuff on our Facebook page.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
Jesus said to make disciples and to “Teach them to observe all that I commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20)
Who or what is a disciple? Someone who loves the Lord Jesus more than even life itself. Someone who seeks to live in obedience to all of His commands, not just the happy ones. Someone who daily denies themselves and takes up their cross and follows Him.
Someone who knows that their reward is not to be found in this life primarily, but in eternity with Christ and so they live for eternity, not just for earthly rewards.
A disciple is someone who embraces suffering for the sake of the cross.
A disciple is someone who denies self and puts seeking first the kingdom above pleasure and comfort. A disciple is someone who lives in obedience to Christ’s command to go into all of the world and make disciples. A disciple is someone who is driven by love for their Savior, for His church and by a desire to see men and women come to Christ.
It is time for the death of the Christian country club!
It is time to step away from our Christian country clubs. It is time to go out among the ‘thugs’ and to bring Christ. It is time for the Church to leave the building and to be the church in the communities, in homes and in all of the nations of the world.
P.S. - And by the way, I don't have it down yet. I don't really know what it should exactly look like. And I would much rather hide within the walls of my own house.
But, I am hungry for something. Lord, change me!