Summary: What does it mean to be a high maintenance Christian?
Iliff & Saltillo UM Churches
September 12, 2004
“Are You A High Maintenance Christian?”
INTRODUCTION: In a small town there was an old doctor who, when he wasn’t saving lives, was planting trees. Doc Gibbs didn’t look like any other doctor. Most of the time he wore overalls and a straw hat with a front brim of green sunglass plastic. He had a smile that matched his hat--old and crinkly and well worn. He never yelled at the neighbor kids for playing in his yard. Actually he was a much nicer person than circumstances warranted.
His house sat on ten acres and his life goal was to make it a forest. He had some unusual theories concerning planting trees and caring for them. One was that he never watered them. He said that watering them “spoiled them” and that if you water them, each successive generation will grow weaker and weaker. So you have to make things rough for them. He talked about how watering trees made for shallow roots. He contended that trees that weren’t watered HAD to grow deep roots in search of moisture.
He would plant an oak; and instead of watering it every morning, he’d beat it with a rolled up newspaper. Said it was to get the tree’s attention.
Did his theory work? It must have because trees that were planted twenty five years ago are standing granite strong, big and robust. Adversity and deprivation seemed to benefit them in ways that comfort and ease never could.
On the other hand his neighbor planted a couple of trees in the front yard and carried water to them every night for a solid summer--sprayed them and prayed over them--the whole nine yards. Now two years of coddling has resulted in trees that expect to be waited on hand and foot. Whenever a cold wind blows in, they tremble and chatter their branches. They have become high maintenance trees.
What does this have to do with Christians? Are you a high maintenance Christian?
High Maintenance Christians refer to people who need a lot of attention in order to keep going and remain faithful. They require constant encouragement and constant support from others all the time in order to survive. They are up one day and down the next. Some Christians never seem to progress from BEING SUPPORTED to supporting themselves. Unless constantly being nurtured, they fall by the wayside or become very lukewarm in their Christianity. They become weak and shallow because their spiritual roots are very shallow.
Today’s scripture talks about high maintenance both when it is NECESSARY and when it becomes DETRIMENTAL. Let’s see how we can apply these truths to our individual lives.
1. The Two Sides of High Maintenance: Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” The Message Bible says, “Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. However, a few verses later in verse 5 it says, “for each one should carry his own load.” Is this a contradiction? How should we look at the idea of HIGH maintenance versus LOW maintenance in our Christian life?