Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
Humanity on the whole is lazy, or at least has a proclivity toward laziness, even the most driven and ambitious person, given the right circumstances, and the opportunity will slip into the nice warm comfortable pool of laziness. The thing is there is a misconception among many people that being lazy means you sit around watching TV and eating junk food, all while the house crumbles to shambles around you, and while that’s one way to define laziness, we can fill our lives with activity and be massively busy and still be lazy. In my mind laziness is not so much lack of activity as it is lack of impact. A lazy person is a person who has allowed themselves to have no impact on anyone or anything.
I’m the first to admit that there are times in our lives when we need to do things that in and of themselves have little intrinsic value to the wider world. We need to do things for pleasure, sometimes we need to do something that may be seemingly meaningless, mainly because we need to have a chance to recharge. The idea that we need rest is built into the fabric of our faith, in fact if you study other faiths they too have some impetus for taking a break. It’s important for humans to rest once in a while.
When I think of camping out at Grace, I think of the height of laziness for the Christ Follower. This takes many forms. Some use grace as an excuse, others use grace as a brush to paint the world into heaven, others make grace such a cheap commodity that they forget what it really is.
Cheap grace, is sad to me, mainly because it denies the continuing work of God in our lives, and it makes our faith weak. Cheap grace is not really grace at all, cheap grace is a grace that tells takes for granted the work that Jesus did on the cross, it allows for the initial acceptance of our sins as more of a self enlightened acknowledgment. With cheap grace Jesus becomes little more than a picture in a children’s Bible.
Grace used to make everyone okay is also dangerous. This type of grace takes for granted that while God is full of Grace, He is also Holy. Paint brush grace is a grace that is in practice in so many churches, mainly because churches have decided it’s better to skip some of the harder parts of the Bible. Paint brush grace is sad because it makes true faith un-necessary.
The worst though is grace as an excuse. This one is where many people sit. They have had a very real encounter with God. They have realized that Jesus fills that space in their life that they can’t seem to fill up, and can’t seem to ignore. Excuse grace is the height of laziness. It’s where we set up our tents, gather some firewood and look at the stars. Excuse grace is the grace that we give when we ignore people that are different than we are and decide that we aren’t “called” to minister to that group of people. Excuse grace is what we use to allow four people in our churches to do all the work. Excuse grace is what we use when it’s time for us to gather with fellow believers and we decide that we can just download the pod cast of the sermon, or find one from a different preacher that we like better. Excuse grace is the grace that we use when we don’t want to grow, study or change. Excuse grace keeps churches focused inward, keeps Christians on the defensive, and keeps the people outside of our world view away. It is what happens every Sunday when we step into our churches that look, sound and act like we think they should. When people camp out at grace they aren’t always using that tent as a way to “sin” the big sins that everyone knows are bad. Sure there are people who use grace as an excuse to continue living a life that was empty in the first place, the question for that person is one of real encounter with Christ as opposed to emotional response. The people that camp out at grace that bother me, and that I have been are the ones that have decided that they do church the right way, and that if anyone does it differently they are wrong. They put rules and regulations on everyone before they walk in the door, all the while resisting the change part of what it means to be a Christ Follower. Refusing to move, refusing to grow, refusing to go where God may be calling them. They are camped out in grace…