Social media has revolutionized relationships and interpersonal communications in the past decade. I remember when Facebook make it’s debut while I was in college, roughly 12 years ago. It started out as a networking tool for college students: you had to have a college email address to join. I chose not to join. Around Christmas time of my first year in grad school, I realized that Facebook would be a good way to keep up with college friends now that we had all been scattered by life, so I joined. And now, almost ten years later, Facebook has evolved into a tool for business promotion, event coordination and networking in new communities.
I moved to Denver, CO two years ago and was quickly connected to the Christian community. There is a Facebook page for everything here: finding a roommate, volley ball clubs, running groups, frisbee planning, event planning. And you can now completely plan and organize a party, utilizing Facebook invitations as your sole means of informing invitees. I am guilty. My husband and I are hosting a Super Bowl party on Sunday, and it was Facebook organized.
But Facebook creators understand our society, and they have created three responses for an invitation: Join, Maybe, Decline.
We live in the day of “maybe”.
Gone are the days of sending out cute invitations in the mail with an RSVP card. Gone are the days of getting a headcount weeks in advance. Gone are the days of commitment. Remember the days when you made plans with a friend to meet at 4:15 at the mall, and waiting until they showed up? If he did not show in fifteen minutes, you assumed that they were not coming and you left a voice mail on his answering machine making sure that he was all right. Now we text minutes in advance invitations, cancellations: flippant plans. We make and break plans based on our whims. And since we all have the means of instant communication we allow one another to do so.
And since we never know exactly how we will feel at the time of the scheduled event, we create the RSVP response of “maybe”.
There are a few things to which we are still committed: school, work, paid-for-activities… We have to show up for work or else we will be fired. Some of us cannot function with another person exercising authority over us, so we set out to run our own businesses or find a work-from-home job. School has mandatory attendance expectations, and activities for which we pay – lessons, sports, activities – merit our attention because we have made a financial commitment.
But everything else is flexible. And unfortunately, for most today, Church falls into that category. For some reason we can wake up at 6:00 am five days a week and have ourselves into the office by 8:00 am, but on Sundays we find ourselves incapable of arriving at 10:30 am. It’s just too early. We can stay out late on Friday and Saturday nights, eating out, watching movies, going dancing, but a small group/Bible study from 7:00-9:00 is just too big of a commitment.
What is the core of the problem here? It is simply that God is not that important to us. Many will argue, “My spirituality is not based on Church!” and “I can love God on my own”, but Scripture is plain, God created us and saved us to be a part of the body: the Church. He has given us gifts and strengths to be utilized within the Church. The author of Hebrews quite simply says,
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
– Heb 10.23-25
In short, do not skip church. Not only do we need one another for accountability, encouragement and support, Jesus wants us to go and be involved. If we are relying on Jesus to eternally save our souls from damnation, why would we consider obeying Him and serving the Church as less important that work, school, or sports practice?
A rich man asked Jesus what he must do to be saved, to go to Heaven and not Hell when he died, and Jesus said,
“If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
– Matt 19.21
This man’s greatest treasure was his wealth. He was unwilling to give it up, so he went away sad knowing that he would not be “complete” or saved. Some people value family and relationships, and to them Jesus said,
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
– Luke 14.26
Jesus did not mean that we must hate our families in the worldly sense of the meaning, with bitterness, anger and indignation. He simply meant that His calling should trump our commitment to family. If our parents, spouse or anyone stand for something that was not honoring to God, we must choose God. We also must not love and cherish our family in a way that discredits or trumps our love and commitment to God. In short, if we lost every single family member and were left alone, we would mourn their passing, but would still be complete and full of joy because we have God. That is the call of Christianity.
The application today is time. Yes, money and family are idols that we still hold, but with the pace of life and the entertainment, individualistic mindset that is prevalent in our society, we also must fight the battle of time. Jesus said,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
– Matt 6.19-21
Is time your treasure? Is your treasure your freedom and flexibility and ability to make a last minute decision if you will go? Is the “maybe” button your idol?