Who do you think God has a bigger problem with—priests or prostitutes? The religious or the sacrilegious?
What I actually want to know is this. Back in the day (i.e. first century Jerusalem), who do you figure had a bigger problem with Jesus? Priests or prostitutes? The religious or the sacrilegious?
I read something recently that got me to thinking about this question. Margaret Manning wrote: “Those who sought to kill [Jesus] did so because they sought to protect law and order, tradition and teaching. It was not vice and corruption that sought him dead, but piety and due process.”
Jesus disrupted “officialdom,” as Manning put it. I like that term, officialdom. Pompous, verbose, arrogant, redolent (redolent…? I thought I’d throw out a personal favorite just to see if you were paying attention).
For me, the word officialdom reminds me of the difference between kingdom people and church people. Now both kinds of people go to church but the two think as differently about faith issues as Rottweilers and rabbits (although, technically, neither thinks much about faith issues, but I figure you know what I mean).
Church people are always wondering how to keep the doors open, what has happened to all the young people, and how can we raise enough money to make sure the air conditioner works in the summer and the furnace works in the winter.
The focus is the facility.
Church people primp…and dress up…and gossip about others who don’t.
The primary concern is…
Kingdom people are always wondering how to keep hearts open to the Spirit’s influence, where are the lost, the sick, and the hurting, and how can we raise the money to reach them with the Gospel.
The focus is the Father.
Kingdom people pray, “Thy kingdom come”…and seek God’s counsel…and weep for those who don’t.
The primary concern is…
To be honest, I find being a church person easier. I can dress up. I can smile and be nice. I can give a little money toward maintenance. I can maintain appearances. And sometimes I do all of those things rather well, thank you very much.
I don’t smoke.
I don’t chew.
I don’t drink (much).
I don’t cuss (in public).
I don’t watch R-rated movies (except when I want to).
I read my Bible.
I say my prayers.
I go to church (most Sundays).
But God’s not impressed and tends to disrupt and dismantle my church people persona. He has bigger plans for me, and for you, than simply to be respectable.
He wants to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).
Question: How would you describe the difference between church people and kingdom people?