You see, consumer’s are those who acquire goods and services for the sake of fulfilling their own needs, desires and objectives. Like you I consume everyday, making choices based on a grid of that which suits my needs or my families needs best…
I just experienced this replacing a kitchen appliance for our family. As the consumer I mulled over what I was willing to give in exchange for what benefit we will receive from the exchange. We bought one item, but then stood on our consumer rights taking it back the next day as we changed our minds again..!
Consumer’s have rights, they get to choose, they get to be served, get to be right in some stores even, they get to take back what doesn’t suit their needs.
Sadly however, these same attitudes these lines of thinking easily slip into our faith, into our followership of Jesus and into our view of His church and what it is there for!
And yet Jesus said;
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? ” (Luke 6:46)
One of my spiritual father’s, Simon Pettit, used to say; “you can’t say ‘no, Lord'”! Jesus is saying the same here. It is incompatible to call Jesus Lord (which means master) and yet disregard His commands, desires and instructions.
‘But isn’t our following Jesus all about love? What’s all this about commands and obedience then?’ – some might be thinking. And yet, we know that Jesus defined loving Him as obeying Him (John 14:15).
There are two things that matter in this regard; firstly it matters to at we do obey our Lord and secondly, it matter why we obey Him. Tim Keller contrasts the Gospel and religion when he says;
‘I obey therefore I am accepted by God’ equals religion but ‘I am accepted by God because of Jesus, therefore I obey’ equals the Gospel.
When it comes to our faith, we are not consumers – we are beloved servants, sons and daughters of the most High God accepted by His glorious grace because of the finished work of the Son, Jesus on the cross for us.
But, that free grace doesn’t turn us into consumers but rather into grateful obedient sons and daughters who respond to this lavish love and grace by living to please Him who died for us, living out lives of obedience to Him because of the love in our hearts for Him who loved us first.
We are on shaky ground if we have slipped into thinking along the consumerist lines of; “what can the church do for me” or “is this church meeting MY needs/desires.
This is Jesus’ church, it’s His bride whom He is preparing and through whom He will fulfill His plans and purposes and in whom He will glory in that Great Day to come and in whom He will be glorified!
If Luke were recording the eyewitness account of this moment with Jesus today, he might have heard,
“Why do you call me Lord, Lord and yet expect to be served rather than serve me, serve my purposes in and through the church that bear’s my name?”
Or maybe; “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and yet you live in perpetual sexual sin and immorality, as if I didn’t care?”
In this age of consumers, may we be those who live out lives of radical obedience and radical servanthood inspired by verses like 2 Corinthians 5:15;
“He (Jesus) died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”