The recent trade with the Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl has people up in arms. We’re hearing more and more stories about how uncommitted Bergdahl was as a soldier. Those who served with him call him a deserter. Evidence suggests that, though he wore the uniform, he was not enamored with the United States. Some even claim that he collaborated with the enemy.
I wonder how many Christians who are going on and on about Bergdahl are just like him when it comes to how they live their faith.
In every church there are people who go AWOL in the good fight of faith. They sign up, then fail to show up when there’s work to be done. They indulge in behavior that could only be described as flirtations with the enemy. They criticize their leaders and complain about how the mission is being executed. Honestly, I’ve known church-goers who were so undependable and difficult to work with that I actually wondered whose side they were on.
This much I know: If you swear your allegiance to the flag or the faith, there should never be a shred of doubt about whose side you’re on.
Read again what the 11th chapter of Hebrews says about our spiritual ancestors:
They were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. (35-38)
Sometimes I think we ought to print those words on big banners and hang them in our churches to remind people of what real faithfulness looks like. The brand that we’re seeing far too much of today, which is a kind of lukewarm, wishy-washy, now-and-then hybrid of maybe/maybe not, is never going to get the job done.
Some, I fear, have even forgotten what the job is.