Summary: We have adapted the Christian life to the culture. We want it hot, easy, quick and effortless.
The American people expect everything fast, easy and cheap. And we often treat the Christian life like that. We want it to be like a McDonald’s drive through — drive up to the window, get what you want and drive off.
Have you noticed all the ads that tell us about the products that work “instantly”? One said, “Get the gym body without going to the gym.” Sounds good to me. But I’m thinking about getting the Flex Belt that promises I can get great abs in only a few weeks, just by putting on this special belt. A Medifast commercial said that I could lose 20 pounds in 30 days. The ad said, “Forget counting calories or carbs, Medifast does it for you.”
If I want to learn a foreign language, whether it is Spanish, Russian or Chinese, I found that you can learn any language in just 30 days. The ad says, “Use the Pimsleur Approach and start speaking a new language in just 10 days! Each CD has been scientifically sequenced to rapidly lock language material into your brain. Just sit back, relax and let the audio guide you. Once you start listening you’ll be learning in under 5 minutes and be speaking in just 10 days! Before you know it, you’ll be able to engage in real conversations. Travel to the country of your choice and order your favorite meal and a fine bottle of wine. Get directions and get around town. Even hit the bazaar and buy exactly what you want... All this with no reading, writing or computer use.” I suppose if they told you that it would take two years of memorizing vocabulary, verb conjugation charts, and noun declensions, not to mention all the irregular verbs, etc., before you might begin to feel comfortable with the language, you wouldn’t enroll in the course.
A while back we were around a child who was so out of control that he could have been placed on a terrorist list. I wanted to tell the parents about The Total Transformation Program. It advertises that it will help you, “Say Goodbye to Disrespectful, Obnoxious and Abusive Behavior, and Regain Control of Your Child, Your Family & Your Life... In Day One of this step–by–step program, you’ll learn a whole new way to get your child to cooperate and comply, without having to raise your voice — ever... Now, when you talk, your child will listen and respond appropriately. Plus, if you start your 30-day free trial now, you’ll also receive a special Bonus CD: How to Turn Around Your Child’s Attitude in One Minute or Less.” I don’t know what it costs, but whatever it is, it is a bargain.
Well, I could go on and on about all the things that you could learn or accomplish in just moments, but you get the idea. We live in the instant age. We are a people who want a lot without it costing us much. We want to accomplish much without putting forth much effort. We want perfect health by taking a pill. We want to be an expert in something by simply listening to a 30 minute CD. And if you think this hasn’t affected the way we think of the Christian life, you don’t know yourself very well.
Why are Christians not more consistent in worshiping together with other Christians? Why is it that Christians read the Bible so little? Why is our prayer life so paltry? Why do we talk so much about conversion and so little about discipleship? Why are we not putting forth the effort to in our Christian life? The surprising answer is: Because we don’t think it is necessary. Perhaps we haven’t admitted it to ourselves, but it is true. We know that when we were 12 years old or younger that we “went to the altar” where we were saved. Essentially, we got our ticket to heaven, and that is what it is all about isn’t it? Why read the Bible when you really don’t have to? You already have your ticket to heaven. Why come to church faithfully, when you don’t need anybody else, or the church, to be a Christian. Why do works of service when our good works don’t save us? We believe in God, isn’t that what it is important? So we settle for a quick trip to the altar and breathe a sigh of relief — quick, easy, cheap grace.
In the Scripture today, Jesus tells the parable of the soils. Jesus explained that in this parable, he was the one who was the one sowing seed. We are in the parable too. We are the different types of soil. Like Adam, we are made from the dust of the earth. The twist in the parable is that these various forms of soil have a choice about what kind of dirt they turn out to be — and they are held accountable for their choice.