For some time now I have studied those among us who truly try to do good
But do not follow God’s way as the model for their goodness.
They have the urge to do good, but the only model they have is ‘moral’ society.
And that is the morality of causes.
They’ve found the right words:
Tolerance, inclusiveness, political correctness, giving back, and ‘challenged.’
Good words, all part of the teachings of Christ,
And many have done much good, using the words as guidelines.
Some Christians have adopted their model based on words,
And driven by the secular business model for administration.
For a while it works, if we are committed to the ideas behind the words.
But in our humanness, things break down.
As Christians, we get bogged down along denominational or belief lines.
In secularism, we get bogged down in the shortsightedness,
Of being able to see only OUR cause and losing the view of the whole picture.
And in the scramble for funds, we view other causes and movements with suspicion.
And so we support our cause – to extreme of violence even-
While ignoring the sanctity of the life around us.
The cause becomes the driving force, not the people who were to benefit from it.
The preservation becomes more important than those for whom we are preserving.
So, why is that important? Why is God’s way different?
God’s way puts people first – always – no matter the cause.
Even in the cause of ‘saving souls’ we sometimes forget the
Essence of salvation is for the person and community, not to build the church.
Examples of how easy it is to slip off that track….
As a musician, I’ve been guilty of church musicianship becoming about the music, not the worship.
The Christmas play/musical/production going well becomes as important as the Christmas message.
And the number of people attending decides the repetition of an activity, not its impact on those who attended.
Secularism is, by its individualistic nature, prone to this shift where the cause leads the way.
A unifying vision is difficult to sustain and becomes more difficult when the founder dies or leaves.
And the causes keep shifting as society focuses on different segments of society in need.
So we end up with an organization whose very existence is to support different causes as they shift.
Good is good, no matter who does it, and should be acknowledged and applauded as such.
But doing good is not an adequate substitution for a relationship with God.
The sands are always shifting, as are our lives if we base them on causes.
In the end, we are merely an agenda hunting situations that need our intervention.
Everything we do then becomes about the cause or agenda.
People and their needs that started it all become secondary.
The same rules then have to apply to everyone and each situation.
And we become an institution instead of a cause.
Granted, there are times when the need is so big we need an institution.
But when there are disagreements about guiding principles, we eventually hear about their internal struggles.
As we plan our good works, we need to keep God before and in us.
Our goodness needs to be the expression of God’s work in us, not a way to make ourselves good.
When we do things from a human standpoint, we often do it backwards.
We put the cause ahead of the recipient, compete with other causes,
Scorn those who don’t see needs as we do,
Try to get attention for our cause, and sometimes go to fantastic means to grab it.
Okay, anything can get carried away.
But that’s where God’s way is different.
People and love are always the reason. Everything becomes redemptive.
And people show up with water – bought with their own money – for the thirsty.
Isaiah 55: 1-13
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.