By Tyler Warner
When I was in college, we used to make fun of people who pulled what was called a “Jesus Juke”. A Jesus Juke is when someone yanks the conversation off the rails to force a religious moment. For example:
“Hey man, did you see that walk-off homer last night? The crowd went nuts!”
“Too bad we can’t get people to stand up and cheer for Jesus like that.”
See? Jesus Juke. People trying to seem spiritual by making everyone else feel guilty. It’s not true fellowship, it’s just awkward. I bring this up because what I’m about to say could seem like one big Jesus Juke, but I really don’t mean it to be. It’s just too good of an illustration to pass up, so – sorry, I guess!
I remember a few years ago, when the mission statement craze was barreling through the Church, a lot of ministries settled on the slogan: “We’re all about people!” What could be wrong with that? It’s catchy, it’s inviting, and it’s short enough to fit on the church sign. As a slogan, it works just fine. But as an undergirding philosophy, it’s insufficient.
Jesus said that God’s entire Law depended on two commandments: First, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. Second, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. (Matthew 22:37-40). Yes, we are to love people and put others above ourselves, but that is the second commandment. The first is to love the Lord. To love Jesus. Every Christian and every Christian Church is to be all about Jesus.
If we allow ourselves to be driven by the needs and wants and requests of people, then we will neglect the things of God. Look at how many charities that began as evangelistic outreaches have jettisoned the Gospel along the way. How many seminaries allowed themselves to become secularized in the name of academic freedom? When you make it all about people, then all that God stuff just gets in the way.
The same is true in our lives. If we put any other person or organization or cause on the throne of our hearts, no matter how noble, the importance of Jesus and His Gospel will diminish and the life of the spirit will be choked out. This is why Jesus and His apostles taught us that if we want to bear much fruit, we must first abide in Him. If we do, not only does it keep the focus where it needs to be, but it actually makes us able to love people better. So if we really want to be “all about people” in the best sense of that phrase, we need to first be all about Jesus.
Tyler Warner is the senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Trussville. CCT meets on Sunday mornings at 9:30am, at 5239 Old Springville Rd. Listen to Tyler’s verse-by-verse Bible teaching at CalvaryChapelTrussville.com or Sundays at 8:30am on 101.1 FM.