I am on vacation…sort of. I have one of my dearest friends spending some time with me (yes, we are both fully Covid-vaccinated) over spring break, so I have taken the week off. However, as she is leaving tomorrow and it is also Lent – one of the most important seasons of the church – I am still preaching on Sunday. Since I am preaching there are also some things that need to be done during the week. The church secretary needs to know what Scripture and Call to Worship I will be using for the Sunday service. We have to pick music that hopefully goes with the theme of the service (by the way we visit Captain America this week). I have to read and research in order to have the information I need to write a sermon. And at some point I have to actually write the sermon. Yet, I have not gone into the office this week. My friend and I have taken a drive to discover the beautiful country that this part of West Texas has to offer. We have been shopping. We have done more shopping. We have eaten a lot. We decided Mediterranean food and Holly’s cheeseburgers are especially delightful. My friend even waited with me while I went to yet another doctor’s appointment. We have done all of this during the time when I would otherwise be at work in my church office. I intentionally took the time off to spend with my friend, knowing that I still have church work to do this week. That is why I say I am sort of on vacation. I am taking time off from work and yet I have to work.
This “sort of” vacation has me thinking of the other things that we sort of do. Some of us sort of work. We are physically present, but not always focused on the tasks we have been assigned. Some of us sort of do family time. We are home, but so engrossed in our favorite television show or whatever screen we have in front of us that we are not engaged with our loved ones. When I really think about it, an awful lot of us are really good at sort of doing whatever we are doing.
Unfortunately this seems to apply to the things of God and faith too. How many of us (me included before my clergy days) have gone to church so we can check that box off of our to-do list or because that is what we are supposed to do rather than because we want to worship God, walk with Jesus, and be filled with the Holy Spirit? How many of us proclaim the Christian faith, but the only Scripture we get is what we hear read during the Sunday service? How many of us pray when we want something or when we have a health crisis, but not when good things happen or when we are seeking guidance and discernment? How many of us claim to follow Jesus without doing anything that is inconvenient or anything at all?
The theme for the first sermon I did in the Heroes series that I am doing for Lent was that we are to mirror Chris in our actions. That is what a Christian is supposed to do. Christian, after all, means “little Christ.” But when we really thing about it, Jesus was not a Savior of the “sort of.” Jesus wasn’t sort of born. He didn’t sort of know God. He didn’t sort of minister to God’s children. Jesus didn’t sort of get tortured or sort of die. And He didn’t sort of rise again. Jesus was an all in Savior. Whatever He did, He did 100%. That is why Jesus is so important for us. In Jesus’ “all in” He took our sins upon Himself. He carried our sins to the depth of hell so we could live in the presence of the One who cannot be in the presence of evil and sin. Jesus was all in on death so this could happen. Yet death didn’t mean He was done. Jesus was also all in – 100% committed and completed – when it came to Resurrection. His Resurrection was a victory for all of us. Jesus’ Resurrection means that death is not the end for us either. It means that all of us who believe in Him will have eternal life in God’s kingdom, first God’s kingdom on earth and one day God’s kingdom in heaven.
Friends, there is no such thing as a “sort of” Christian. We are either all in or we are all out. If we want to mirror Christ and claim the name Christian, then we must put God first in everything we do, whether we are working, playing, or relaxing. We must mirror the actions of Christ by doing and working for what is right and just, by loving all people (yes, that includes our enemies), by being kind and caring, and by walking in the ways of God.
So what about you? Are you trying to be a sort of Christian, or are you making the commitment (maybe today for the first time) to go all in for God and your faith? I hope and pray that there is no “sort of” here. I hope and pray we all choose to be “all in” Christians.