Though soap is used to clean my dishes of all the food, gunk, and various grime, if that same soap is not properly washed down the drain afterwards, it will stain the sink all the same. That which is meant to clean does itself become a stain requiring cleansing. Even soap stains.
So also, the gospel has called us to action, not merely to church. Would it not be so unfortunate if I were to meet the eternal God, begin a relationship with Him personally, walk with Him daily, to know Him intimately as my friend, and then end up with nothing more than only going to church. For, if Jesus said to go out, heal the sick, cleanse lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons, preach the gospel, and I content myself with only listening to a sermon and worship music each Sunday, then that which was meant to bring about cleansing has become a stain in and of itself by my stagnancy. For even water that sits stagnant for too long becomes poisonous.
I write this from the conviction that wrests my own heart, not to heap up more burdens upon a church already heavy-laden with so light a gospel, but to reinvigorate the church to the simplicity and lightness of gospel as it was presented to us. For what difficulty was given to us but to walk in the power and love of God and watch as He transforms the world around us through us. What burden has He laid on us other than to be free from the clutches of sin and despair?
In the Old Testament, God speaks to this effect in several places:
- My people, what have I done to you?
How have I burdened you? Answer me.
I brought you up out of Egypt
and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
- Micah 6:3
- But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts.
- Malachi 1:13
And His response to this ‘burden’ we carry is as simple as the gospel that Jesus proclaimed:
- “With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with[a] thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,[b]
and to walk humbly with your God?
- Micah 6:6-8
Go to church, and enjoy the fellowship of Gods people, but if those are separated from the simple commands to walk with God (for to walk with God implies that you are going somewhere), it is all useless and it becomes a stain in and of itself.