Welcome back friends and family! I hope 2021 is treating you all well so far. If you read last week’s post, you’ll hopefully remember that I mentioned how I am going to spend the next several weeks covering some tidbits from the 2020 CROSS Conference. There were five teachings presented at the conference so I’m going to spend the next five weeks sharing basically my sparknotes version of each lesson, including my own personal takeaways.
As I also mentioned in last week’s post, the central theme for CROSS 2020 was the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6. Christian rap artist, Tripp Lee presented verses five through nine, which includes the opening sentence of the prayer, “Our Father In Heaven.”
The context for this lesson focuses mostly on verses five through eight, dealing with what Lee so appropriately termed “Reality Show Righteousness.” Simply put, we are notorious for acting a certain way when we know other people are watching us. We sometimes tend to do things for the sole purpose of showing off rather than genuinely bringing honor to God. Matthew 6:5 says it best. “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.” If I remember correctly, Lee even took this part of the lesson a bit further by referencing verses one through four, which warn against doing good acts of service merely for the sake of attention.
Rather than summarizing all of Lee’s sermon, I’m just going to expand on this piece of it because I believe this is relatable, not just to the CoMission staff but to all of us as followers of Christ. I know I’ve been especially guilty on a certain level when it comes to serving others for the sake of the gospel because I would go into the act with a half-hearted attitude; while I did want to serve others out of love for Christ, I also did it out of selfish ambition.
Let’s stop and think for a minute. Have you ever gone on a short-term mission trip with a church group? I have, several times. You might have served a good number of people in need while you were there. You might have even shared the gospel with one or two people which is fantastic. Praise God! But what were your ulterior motives for going on the trip? Did you go just because you were in desperate need of an adventure? Or because it would look good on a resume? Maybe you even went with a hope of meeting your future spouse. Shoot, I’ve been guilty of that last one more than once or twice. I’ve even stooped to the point of thinking that going on the mission trip would impress someone else and get their attention. Now granted, that wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when I signed up but the idea did creep in from time to time. I can’t even begin to express my embarrassment for that. Lord only knows, the last thing we should want is for our short-term (or long-term) mission trip to be featured on an episode of The Bachelor. Why? Because serving other people for the sake of the gospel should not be centered around our own selfish desires for finding that special someone. Yes, God wants those kinds of good things for us, but He doesn't want us putting on an act of doing His work for them either.
Whenever I think about the people who have “thrown away” their lives and moved to a remote area of the world to make the gospel known among a tribe that has never heard the name of Jesus, I am confident they acted on those choices with the right motives. Brooks and Nina Buser sure as heck did not leave their comforts of San Diego, California to live in the jungle of Papua New Guinea (where they would encounter culture shock, malaria and occasional death threats) for the sake of being recognized by their peers. They didn't draw thousands of viewers by being featured on Lone Survivor. No, their only motive was to obey the call God had given them, because of their love and devotion for Him; to love those tribal people and share the gospel with them, no matter the cost. If at some point in time, any of our CoMission staff decide to pack up and move to an unreached, third-world village where the gospel has never been heard, I can only trust it will be with the right heart and the right motives. To God be all the glory, honor and praise.
If you would like to watch the whole of Tripp Lee’s sermon from CROSS Con, click here.