The Question That Changed My Life, by David Ryser
A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this:
Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise.
Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years oldbarely out of diapersand I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, An enterprise. Thats a business. After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Marthas raised hand, Yes, Martha. She asked such a simple question, A business? But isnt it supposed to be a body? I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, Yes. She continued, But when a body becomes a business, isnt that a prostitute?
The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, Wow, I wish Id thought of that. I didnt dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class.
Marthas question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. When a body becomes a business, isnt that a prostitute? There is only one answer to her question. The answer is Yes. The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We dont even know Him; and I mean really know Him.
I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know Godmuch less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we dont care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christthats pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we dont even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?