Sometimes, while scanning blog feeds, the posts start to mix together and produce interesting insights. Tonight was a good example.
First, take a look at this Baptist Press post by Keith Manuel (Louisiana Baptist Convention employee). He writes about the digestive dangers of too much grain for sheep and then makes a point about Christians. We’re like sheep who eat too much of the good stuff (Bible teaching) and need to go to the fields to get the grain (witnessing). I don’t want to make fun (it’s a good point), but I really though the post was headed for some bathroom humor. In my immature mind, sheep that get bloated go out to the fields for other reasons too. Anyway, here is what he did say:
As Christians, we could learn from sheep. I’m certainly not opposed to the study of the Word of God, however there is a strange disconnect when someone is full of knowledge but never applies what they learn, nor gives that information away.
They become bloated sheep in danger of dying.
How is it that someone can know so much about Jesus but never share that information with a lost person? Is it biblically correct to know so much about the Scriptures but never convey that knowledge to other people?
Biblical Christianity is not an academic exercise; it is living faith or faith living through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Second, the Internet Monk linked to this story about Dr Rowan Williams (head of the Church of England). The Anglican primate wants churches to focus less on activities and more on praying. The back story is his failing attempts to keep the national communion of Anglicans form splitting. Beside all that mess, he makes a good point about prayer. While talking about a particular church’s busy calendar (noticeboard) he says:
That noticeboard used to worry me and it still does. It seems to me it speaks of an idea of the church which supposes that the church is about human beings doing things. When you looked at that church you would have thought, what a lot of things they do there. But I’m still wondering if anyone ever asked, does God do things here? It seemed to be just a slight risk that there was hardly any room in the week for God to find his way in among all these activities.
Now, let me try to connect the two stories. Our Louisiana Baptist brother has rightly observed a problem of believers who just hear the Word and really don’t do it. Perhaps the missing element is not only failure to do personal evangelism. Maybe our problem is much worse — we’re not receiving the scriptures as an act of communion with God through prayer. The Bible does become an academic exercise when we fail to engage with God. This is a horrible judgment on our hardened hearts! When we rely on our brains to do the spiritual work, we never truly come in contact with God through his Word.
This disconnect can’t be bridged by doing more works. It is a spiritual problem that needs grace not human effort. To merely add more busyness and activities would push God even farther from our time of Bible study. We must bring back the prayer meetings and seek fresh grace from the Savior to overcome our hard Bible-suppressing hearts. Then we will have the Gospel-changed lives and Gospel-changed hearts that will be zealous to spread the Gospel message.