Cap's Corner: Believing in Jesus isn't the same as following

by Cap McIlnay

Simply believing in Jesus is not enough to be a true follower of Jesus. Jesus told his disciples in Mark 10:45, “45  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,  and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Again and again, Jesus is always telling the Pharisees or those around him to do what? To feed the poor, to stand for justice, to seek peace, and to love. To love is an action, and that is what Jesus is calling all of his followers to do to the best of their ability.

This may be the best reason for all Christians to seek a church, for the local church is the best place for one to find out how and where they can serve. This hits upon a point I have been wanting to make.

First off, I am delighted that anyone is going to church, even if that church is not in our community. Going to and being active in church is very important. However, I do feel that I need to point out that anyone who does go to church outside of our community is supporting a church that is supporting their community and not ours. I don’t see many churches from other towns throwing resources our way to help our community.

Again, I want you to think about this one. If you go to a church out-of-town, the church you are supporting is not supporting your community. This is a secondary point, the primary being that you are going to a church and serving. God does not care where you are serving as long as you are serving, but I wanted to put that out there. So, if you are one of those going out of town for church, ask your church to do some ministry in your home town.
Back to serving.

Followers of Jesus are called to follow his example, and in the scripture above we read where Jesus came here to earth to not only save his creations, but also to serve them.

There are times when I am struck with the wonder of it all. Why does God even care about us? Who are we, to be even more than a thought to the creator? And yet He loves us! Not only has He created us and loved us, but then He sent His son down to serve us. I don’t get it at all, but I am sure thankful for it.

I do want to put a little warning here. I love seeing people with a passion for serving others. That’s what Jesus did, and that's what He wants us to do and be. However, there is a real thing called burn-out. Burn-out happens when you have stretched yourself too thin, and you have neglected your family and yourself.

So, set healthy boundaries, and learn how to say 'No' when it is the time to do so. The church won’t fall apart, your community will still be there tomorrow, and life will surely continue. I encourage you, if you have children, to MAKE them be a part of your serving. I guarantee you they will complain and maybe even hate it in that moment. But, years down the road, it will be a wonderful memory for them, and it just might plant a seed in their heart to serve when they come of age as well.

Seek out what gifts you have to serve, and seek those who need to be served. One of the saddest groups of people that I feel needs to be served are those with wealth and influence. Everyone can identify the needs of the poor. But the wealthy not only hide their needs well, they also feel guilty for expressing a need. Of course, their needs would be different than those that are poor, but just because they have worldly goods does not always mean they are in a good place.

I know that sounds strange, but think of it this way: Jesus spoke often about the problems of money. He even said it would be very difficult for a rich man to make it in heaven. Have you ever wondered why? Start thinking about it. In some ways, being wealthy could be viewed as a curse. Everyone has problems, but a wealthy person cannot express those without having a social backlash. Maybe it is the love of money that can be their problem, or maybe it is that they have learned, through many betrayals, that nobody wants their company – they just want the company of their money and influence. How lonely is that?

I have written about this before. Because of my experience in Tulsa as a police/fire chaplain, I have had to redefine what real poverty is: it has nothing to do with finances, and everything to do with community.

Let’s all think about it, pray about it, and discover what ways we can serve each other. Let’s not leave one soul behind, because saved people serve people!