It happened again - twice actually in the last 24 hours. Another well-known Christian star caught in a scandal. Another Christian institution making a public statement to secure transparency. Tap open your social feed, and the drama of debate within evangelicalism scrolls on by: social justice, the role of women within local churches, “Revoice,” this pastor tweeting this, that blogger blogging that, and the well known watchdogs serving up delicious bits of information for your midday feast. Before you know it, an hour has slipped by, and you put down your phone with a bit more angst and mild case of depression. You realize you should have watched another funny dog video instead.
Let’s face it, we all know too little about too much. Energy and time are offered to issues that have little impact on your real world and the church where you serve. This is not to say that what happens in Big Eva (the evangelical movement in the US) will not trickle down in to our churches in one form or another, but to note that the news in Big Eva is given too prominent a place in our time and energy.
This reality reared its ugly head while was reading up on the recent Kanye West conversion. Long before the news broke, my brother-in-law had informed me that West had attended a local church and was starting to privately meet with the pastor. With the release of his newest album Jesus is King, the evangelical world was a flurry with opinions and insights on his recent conversion. Regardless of people’s opinions, I was amazed at how many people had opinions, took the time to write their opinions, and interact with those who disagreed about their opinions - not just the movers and shakers in the Big EV world, but also pastors and lay people with almost no platform. Maybe I’m lazy or inefficient, but I wonder, “Who has the time? And why does anyone care about your opinion?”
This past Sunday, I preached from 1 Peter 4:7-11. The whole passage flows from the first line: “The end of all things is at hand.” For what Peter has to say, he sets the stage by reminding the readers of Jesus’ imminent return. Everything from verses 7-11 is tempered by the reality of Christ’s return. He desires for believers to live in light of the end.
How then does Peter want us to live in light of the any moment return of Jesus? The answer is astoundingly unremarkable: pray, love, be hospitable, and serve your local church. Focus on where you are, with whom you live. Don’t over complicate things. Be busy at the work to which God has called you in your local church. Focus on the people and activities that God has put in your life, at your church and in your community. In other words, spend more energy at what you can contribute locally, then reading and worrying about what might be happening around Big Eva. Then, and only then, will the reality of Christ’s return be driving the course of your life.