Summary: What is our response to the Word of God? Do we continue to search out to try and see how the word can meet our needs? Or do we have a higher purpose in listening to the word and applying it? The answer to the question "What is In It for Me? " is simple.
This month’s topic is Word of God and for the past two weeks both the pastors have given us some serious messages on what is the Word all about. I would like to turn the table and focus on “What is our response to the Word?”
Whether I am teaching at SAIACS or running a program for my corporate job, I always emphasise on application. I tell my listeners that we need to apply what we hear and not just be listeners of the Word.
So it is only natural that I study various ways in which people apply the Word of God in their day to day lives.
Here are some examples.
After a Sunday school lesson on Ten Commandments, the Sunday school teacher asked the students, “Now, which of the Ten commandments applies to our relationship with our siblings?” A little girl thought for a few moments and brightly replied “Do not murder”
A pastor was sitting in a flight near an elderly woman. The woman was clutching a Bible, and praying. The woman’s uneasiness grew as the plane started taxiing and increased further as the flight took off. As the plane continued to climb higher, the woman kept getting more nervous and sweat drops were forming on her forehead. The pastor finally decided to intervene and told the woman “Now .. there is nothing to be afraid of, Jesus has said that “I am with you”. The woman quickly shot back. That is not what he said. He said “Low, I am with you”.
A family had the habit of treating their children for ice cream after the church service. One Sunday the father decided to break the habit. The children were not happy about it. They started whining. The father decided use spirituality to deal with the situation. He asked, “where in the bible is it said that we should eat immediately after the service?” The children turned out to be smarter than him, they replied, of course the Bible says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst.. “after all the Righteousness”, for they will be filled”
Closer home, when I want to pick fish over chicken, my argument is that there is evidence of Jesus eating fish, and no evidence of Jesus eating chicken.
I know that we laugh at these examples. But deep inside us, don’t we all agree that this what really happens with us when we read the Bible? We love to read the promises, we love the comforting verses that Bible provides. We love the happy ending stories of Esther and Job. We marvel over the signs, wonders and miracles of Old and New testaments. We love it when the Red sea parts and lets the Israelites pass through dry ground and yet covers the Pharaoh’s army and drowns them. We cheer when David slays Goliath. We enjoy the Wisdom of Solomon in Proverbs. We rejoice when good prevails over evil. And through all this, we keep searching and asking…..
What is in it for me?
In the corporate world, the term What Is In It For Me or the short form WIIFM is very popular. We believe that unless programs address this issue, employees will not be interested in any programs. So when we design programs, be it training programs, employee welfare programs, engagement programs or whatever, we always ask this question, does it have the WIIFM that will attract employees to that program. If we create a strong WIIFM, the chances of success of that program is higher. Else the program fails.
This is a sad part of the world. What is even sadder is that today’s church mirrors the world when it comes to WIIFM. We come to church seeking comfort, seeking fellowship, seeking prayer. We come to church thinking about what we can get from that investment of time. We come to church to be see what promise the Word of God holds for us today. We come to church wanting to be comforted in the current situation. We come to church wanting our spirits to be lifted up through the music and singing. We come to church hoping to be fed by the Word of God. We come to church excited about whom we can meet at the church today. In short we come to church asking the question…..
What Is In It For Me?
The result of this motivation to come to church is that if we do not get a good answer for that question, when we do not see a great WIIFM, we feel disheartened, and we want to change the church. You know about the people who change churches like wardrobe. Their reasoning is simple. They do not see enough WIIFM in the current church (or any church for that matter). They do not find the fellowship to their standards. The music is not lifting them up and giving them a high. The message is not enjoyable enough. One of the most quoted reasons for changing of church is “I am not fed spiritually”. In short many people come to church asking the question……