From the Preacher’s Pen… There’s an old saying that you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Jesus put it a bit more bluntly, He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters (Matthew 12:30).
The spiritual side of that simple fact requires us as Christians to be constantly examining ourselves. Consider if we are…
High Maintenance Christians
I would guess that most of us have heard the term High Maintenance applied to people. It refers to those people that require a huge amount of attention and effort in order to keep moving and be at all useful.
Yes, there are frequent commands from Jesus for us to care for each other. However, just like the frequently used false teaching of you can’t judge me, the concept that other Christians must cater to my every whim, beck and call is a lie.
Let me say this plainly, no Christian has the responsibility to baby you and give in to you! YOU have the responsibility to care more about other Christians than they do you!
Paul discusses this very same lesson in Galatians 6. When we deal with a brother or sister struggling in sin we have (not the elders, preachers or someone else in the congregation) the responsibility as Christians to help, to bear (share in) their burdens (Galatians 6:1-2). But the moment we imagine that this means everyone owes us, Paul reverses the responsibility to each one must bear their own load (Galatians 6:3-5).
So, is this REALLY a problem? Obviously, the fact that Paul took time in the New Testament to deal with the problem suggests that it IS a problem.
Having said that, I doubt anyone would be surprised to learn that this same problem is frequently written about, preached about from pulpits and discussed by elders and preachers everywhere. (A quick search on line results in dozens of articles, sermons, lessons, and discussions!)
Since it is a common problem, how do we deal with it? How much time do we give to the chronic complainers? One preacher explained the problem like this:
A little investigation will show that this “high maintenance” individual has never done any of these things for anyone else. Usually these folks are not particularly friendly, almost never show hospitality, don’t visit the sick, never see about the needs of others, and generally ignore any situation that doesn’t involve their own interests or desires. They are self-centered and full of self-pity.
What each and every Christian MUST learn is that there are NO Scriptures that set ME up to be glorified. The Lord’s church not only BELONGS to the Lord, but it exists for the sole purpose of DOING HIS WILL.
Too often we find ourselves, our egos in competition with that of James and John or the rest of the Apostles for who’s the greatest. Jesus destroyed that idea in Mark 9:35 when He said, If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.
Paul continues that same lesson as God demands that we look outside of our own self and realize that we are called to serve and not to be served. To the Philippians Paul says it like this: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each person should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Your attitude toward one another should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5)
Are you a “high maintenance” member? Or are you the faithful one that just keeps on serving the Lord, putting Him first, worshipping Him regularly, reliably serving wherever you can?
Nothing is more time consuming and disheartening than a car that is unreliable, that constantly requires repairs. Nothing is more discouraging to fellow saints or the Lord Himself than a Christian that acts the same way.
Certainly, there are times that we all need uplifting, repairs and encouragement. But always remember that our job, our responsibility to God is to BE the ACTIVE servant. Be the one who volunteers to teach without being sent a gilt-edged invitation. Be the one who reaches out to the lost to share the Good News. Never be a High Maintenance Christian!