Cruising Isn't For Christians
As I began reading in Ezra yesterday I was reminded that if the church were a vessel, it would be freighter not a cruise ship. The Lord has moved the King of Persia's heart to allow some of the captive Israelites to return to Jerusalem to rebuild. Notice the telling little phrase: "Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem" —Ezra 1:5, NIV.
Anyone could have gone, but only those whose hearts God had moved would have volunteered for the "blood, sweat, and tears" involved in reparation of the disaster that had been left behind them when they had been taken away into captivity.
Hangers-on would not have been appreciated. Laziness would not have been tolerated. The work demanded people who were driven by God to work, not simply tag along for the ride.
We've been hearing lots of message from our pulpit these past weeks on service and sacrifice. And it's true—the church is not for those who want a leisurely cruise to glory. It is for those who are moved by God to "get down and dirty" for the sake of the Kingdom.
The pampered passenger on board a cruise ship lives in a bubble far removed from the reality of daily life—that's the point of indulging in a cruise in the first place! But the operative phrase here is "removed from reality." God moves us to work. He gifted us to minister to the rest of the body and he commissioned us to reach the world.
His church is a working vessel. A cruising church is an oxymoron.