By Dr. Mark H. Creech
Christian Action League
Most of us at one time or another in our lives has forgotten something very important. Such experiences place us in awkward situations and less than favorable circumstances.
You may have heard the story about one young pastor who was talking with an older minister about the challenges he would face in the ministry. One challenge that especially fascinated this young minister was the wedding ceremony. He listened carefully as the older preacher outlined each step he should take. In conclusion, the wise and experienced pastor advised, “Now if you ever forget what to say, just quote Scripture. It’s always appropriate at a wedding.”
Shortly thereafter the young pastor had the opportunity to test his newly gained knowledge, when a young couple requested that he perform their wedding ceremony. Everything went perfectly according to plan up until that point in the service where the young preacher was to pronounce them husband and wife. At this critical juncture, his mind went completely blank. He couldn’t remember what to say next to save his life. Suddenly, the advice of the old pastor came to him: “Just quote Scripture, it’s always appropriate at a wedding.” Unfortunately, the only Scripture that came to his mind at the time, which he dutifully quoted was, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
This little story is in no way meant to disparage marriage, but only to demonstrate in a humorous way that failing to have a good memory can produce serious problems.
Granted, as one person said, having a good “forgettery” can be a blessing because none of us could bear all of the sorrows, disappointments and offenses of life if we were unable to ever forget. But like anything else, forgetfulness is a mixed blessing because, obviously, there are some things that must always be remembered – certain lessons and teachings of life that must never be forgotten.
It’s unfortunate, but much of the reason America today is in a moral meltdown, unlike any other time in its history, is because the church has largely forgotten its duty. It has forgotten Jesus’ command to be “the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13).
When Jesus made this statement in his day, salt was used as a preservative to keep food from corruption. He was teaching that when Christians function in society according to their God-given calling, the culture is protected from complete moral decay. But when the salt loses its saltiness, that is, the church does not stand up and address the evils pertinent to its time, it becomes “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the feet of men” (Matthew 5:13).
This is a hard truth for some, but unfortunately, much of the church today is good for nothing because it isn’t functioning as the “salt of the earth”. Most of what takes place in the average church is little more than the actions of a religious country club. Churches have become feel good institutions, preaching and pandering to the sinful desires of men, while appearing to be godly, loving and compassionate, but instead are denying the very power of God to bring about the righteousness he requires. Christians are laid back on their flowery beds of ease, asleep in the very light of God during days of great spiritual and moral crisis. To such Jesus would say what he said to the church at Sardis: “Wake up! You have only a little strength left, and it is almost gone…I have found that you are not completely obeying God…turn from your sins. If you don’t wake up, I will come when you least expect it, just as a thief does” (Revelation 3:3).
Yes, much of the church of Jesus Christ in this era has become obsolete, irrelevant, and under the disciplining hand of God. Why? Because it no longer follows the example of her Savior, no longer does it follow the example of the church before her – confronting the issues of the day with the Word of God, sacrificing with blood and tears to turn men’s feet to the path of righteousness!
In the 1998 epic war film, “Saving Private Ryan,” there is a scene where a young soldier becomes paralyzed with fear during the heat of a battle. So he hides and retreats while the enemy advances.
Because many Christians today are immobilized by their fears, they have “privatized” their faith, and have withdrawn their influence from vital areas of public life. This retreat from the heat of battle has left the field wide open for the unopposed influx of secularistic thought that is now entrenched as the dominant force in society. As a consequence, America is saturated with moral chaos and confusion. Worst still, if some force doesn’t quickly come to her aid; she is poised for utter destruction.
Looking over the annals of history, it’s not long before one quickly discerns that it has always been the church which has pulled society back from the brink of destruction.
This is no time for the followers of Christ to forget their calling. This is no time for the church to retreat or hide from battle. This is no time for pastors and church laymen to be cravenly silent. Instead, this is a time for all Christians everywhere to be good soldiers of the cross of Christ. For, if we forget our duty to be “salt,” it will not only result in awkward and painful circumstances for the church, but less than favorable conditions for the whole world.