I don’t know. So many people around where I live used to go to church. They’ve been there. Done that. If they walked into a church on any Sunday these days what would they experience? What message might they hear to be drawn into intimacy with God? Would they even hear one? I’m afraid that they might possibly hear a message laden with guilt and shame, though subtly nuanced in passionate pleas to change for the better…to the glory of God. I’ve heard those messages a lot. Probably preached a few myself in years past. According to Scripture or some version of it or according to some verse or verses taken out of context contemporary messages these days often announce that we all continually fall short of what God expects from us. We are all still sinners chipping away at our unrealized spiritual potential. We just don’t measure up. God wants more. He “wants our all.” 100%. We seem to never make it to the top of the spiritual mountain of pleasing God. We are guilting of neglecting God and we have put him in a box. We are a distracted people. We are chasing idols. True enough I suppose.
It seems to me that in many Sunday morning messages these days the messenger wishes to convey there is a problem. We are the problem. Our lives are a problem. Truth be told, yeah…OK…most of us muddle around in our spiritual lives most of our lives. But according to what we are relentlessly told, we never seem to get it just right when it comes to our behavior, dedication, and spiritual passion. The messenger usually wants the hearers to give it all up for Jesus! Confess. Repent. Stop the bad behavior. Give it all to God. Trust God. Worship God every minute of every day. Press in harder. Get more out of God. And God??? What does He think? He is perpetually disappointed in us because we fall short. Never mind what Jesus did to clear the way for us to be completely righteous in God’s sight. We aren’t really. We’ve got to admit we haven’t given it our all. Guilty as charged…most Sundays. God is not satisfied with us.
What if there really isn’t a problem? What if God completely took care of the problem? What if we are all simply beggars showing other beggars where the food is? The food? The bread of life. Jesus—the bread of life. Eat this bread and be satisfied. Are you satisfied? Good. It is finished.