There’s a story about a preacher, who was using Genesis 22 as his Scripture text. In this passage God asks Abraham to take his son Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice … after the preacher read the text he started talking about the historical background of this period of time, the prevalence of child sacrifice among the Canaanite people … then the pastor asked, “What does this story mean to us?”
One guy spoke up, “I’ll tell you what this story means for me. I’ve decided that me and my family are looking for another church.”
The pastor was a little shocked and asked, “Why, are you going to do that?”
The man said, “Because, when I look at the God of Abraham, I feel I am near a real God, not the sort of businesslike, Rotary Club God we chatter about here on Sundays. Abraham’s God could blow a man to bits, give and then take a child, ask for everything from a person and then want more. I want to know that God!”
The only part of that story that I find a little offensive is the part about the Rotary Club. I’m a former Rotarian, and while attending Rotary meetings, I sometimes had to open my eyes wide to see if I was at church or at Rotary. What I mean by that is Rotary was often more like a family than some churches I’ve been a part of. At Rotary we often prayed for one another and we practiced loving one another - but I get this guy’s point: When do we wake up and want to know this all-powerful Person that speaks things into existence, never changes and never sleeps?
At some point in our Christian walk we should no longer be satisfied with just hearing the Word of God, we have to not only hear it, but we also have to do it (James 1:22). We get to experience God and see God as we practice this favorite command. As I grow older, I’m a lot less forgiving of the complacency I see in the church. Last time I checked procrastination was not a spiritual gift. God is a god of verbs, action words, words like: “Go, hear, do, give, serve, die.” Those are hard words no doubt, but good words. He told me to tell you that.
Ken Ansell currently serves as a pastor and local missionary in small, rural Texas community. He plays lots of tennis and fly fishes when he can. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org