In his book, You Lost Me, David Kinnaman presents that our youngest generation uses different phrases to describe themselves than do the prior three generations. The former generations used words like “smarter,” “work ethic,” “values and morals,” “honest” and “respectful.” Our youngest use these words: “technology use,” “music and pop culture,” “smarter,” and “clothes.”
Did you see that?
What I am finding also is that many parents of these, in an attempt to stay “cool” and “hip”, are ignoring words like work “ethic,” “values,” “morals,” and “respect” too. Though it does bother them, their guilt overcomes them, and they strive to be BFF’s with their kids.
What does this have to do with God?
In Rom. 12:1, Paul writes, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
No doubt he was aware of what God had instructed in the Old Testament in Num. 28-29. While Jesus established a new covenant, He did not want us to disregard the value of worship and the work it takes to maintain a proper relationship. Because our youngest (and parents) do not understand work, they want a relationship with God in which they do not really have to do anything. Here are few observations:
- People look to get than give. Many people attend church to get something out of it or God. Attendance is used as leverage to acquire wants from God. So many find a church home based on what they, and their kids, can get from the church. If we all took this approach, there would be no workers/helpers to make this happen. We are to look to give more than get. Additionally, if someone does not feel they are getting enough out of this relationship with God, they will find some other god to worship: work, family, entertainment, and leisure. Our minds are so befuddled and our hearts so black that we demand everything but give nothing.
- People engage by convenience not commitment. If there is nothing on the schedule, families make it to church. Forget daily reading in the Bible, who has the time? We are driven toward many things, and God is put on the back burner in order to complete all the other tasks that feel more pressing.
- Definition of active member has changed. Twenty years ago, an active church member was defined as one who attends three times a week. Today, it is one who attends three times a month. For those in church leadership, this does come as a surprise. We have watched this occur and fretted over it! While a prevailing thought would be that church attendance does not really matter, I think Scripture would disagree. Certainly, the relationship is greater than the religion. Yet, the religion is an outpouring of the relationship. Lack of commitment and a desire to receive mark an immaturity and lostness among our people.
For the believer and the church to be strong, healthy and victorious, here are a few guiding principles from Num. 28-29.
- Daily is the goal – make time to relate with God rather than relay wants. Dialogue with Him through prayer and Bible reading. Every day the Israelites made a sacrifice. It took time and cost some as well. Trusting God with some of your best time is a step of faith He will honor. Who knows? You might find yourself more productive.
- Decide to be regular – God gave the principle of regularity. They had daily, weekly, monthly and special times to sacrifice/worship God. When families are only making it to church three times a month, coupled with an irregular relationship, the unit breaks down, and the individual parts crumble too. Attend Bible Study and Worship regularly and with a cheerful heart. Start spending moments each day with God. Be regular and watch your joy begin to overflow and life to be more satisfying.
- Determine to be honorable – God gave specific instructions on what and how to give. The honorable choice was to give the best, the first and do it with joy. Whether we are discussing our time, our abilities or our money, are you giving your best, your first and doing it with joy?