Monday, December 28, 2009

For a Cause or for Christ?

Over at Wineskins for Discipleship Heather Zempel raises and interesting question. She asks, "Why am I more cause focused than person focused?" In her case, being a Christian, this carries the Christian expectation that the person of focus should be Jesus. I agree. Jesus is the center of Christianity, but what does this look like practically?

I love passionate people like Heather who give their lives to a cause. In fact, I'm inspired by people who give their lives to all sorts of worthy causes whether it is caring for the poor, helping the homeless, ministering to those in prison, starting new churches, etc. I'm even inspired by people who merely offer a cup of cold water to a child (Matt 10:42). The Bible makes it clear that these sorts of causes are on mission and within the heart of Christ.

It is good to recalibrate the compass periodically and ensure the cause on which we're focused is a cause that Christ would approve, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with being cause focused. Heather arrives at her "for a cause or for Christ" dichotomy by starting with this premise:

"The disciples didn't lay their lives down for a cause but for a person."

Heather didn't share the full context of this Dave Buehring statement, and I'm hesitant to be too critical without proper context, but out of context and by itself this appears to me as a false statement. The cause of Christ is outlined in Matthew 28 and in other areas of the New Testament. The disciples were cause-driven men who turned the world upside down in spreading the Gospel. I believe Christians should passionately pursue the cause of Christ, and isn't that the Gospel? Perhaps the real question here is whether or not whatever cause we've given our lives to is furthering the Gospel?

I don't know what it means to lay down my life for a person unless that also means laying down my life for the causes that person cared about.

Your thoughts? Please comment.

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