The Motions of Christianity (Part 1)

When was the last time you gave something your all or the last time you completely and totally spent yourself on something?
We see it in sports all the time. After a close hard fought game the announcers many comment; “they left everything on the court or on the field.” Unfortunately, so much of our life is spent, just “going through the motions.” Just giving enough to get by. Just giving enough to satisfy the minimum requirements.

There is an account in the Old Testament where King David sinned against God and as a result there were three days of plagues against the land where an angel slew seventy thousand people.  When the angel arrived at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite the Lord was grieved and told the angel “Enough! Withdraw your hand.”  David then built an altar and offered sacrifice on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.  Araunah tried to give the threshing floor to King David and told him “I give all this to the king,” (the threshing floor), but David insisted on buying it saying “I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:1-25; 1 Chronicles 21:1-30).  The two attitudes of sacrifice we see in this story are of one willing to give all (Araunah) and the other not wanting to take (David).

What does going through the motions look like?

Mundane (mundane is worldly or earthly; common, ordinary, unimaginative).  An example would be the vain repetitions, of the pagans and Pharisees babbling on and on that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 6:7.  The mundane is “shallow” with no “depth.”  The mundane Christian is a mile wide and only an inch deep.  It is only a “surface level commitment to God — there’s no real substance.

Mediocre (mediocrity is neither good nor bad; just barely adequate).  It is the “ordinary” nothing really special about it.  All of us should ask ourselves, “what’s special about my relationship with God?”  Mediocre is neither good nor bad, neither hot nor cold, much like the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:15-16. Mediocrity is “barely adequate.”

What is mediocrity? Mediocrity is something of moderate or low quality. It’s ordinary or so-so and the world is full of mediocrity. Mediocrity is difficult to identify because it’s everywhere. Tweet this  God wants excellence. He desires the best from us and we should desire to give Him the best.

I’m glad I don’t serve a mediocre God. Think about it…God built excellence into everything he did. What if God were mediocre? But He isn’t, and out of His excellence He gave His only Son. That makes Jesus rare. He was and is one of a kind. There was, is and never will be another like him. It’s sad, but some of us value our cell phone more than we do our Savior!

I am tired of going through the motions of mediocrity. God demands and deserves our very best. He demands and deserves excellence in our love and devotion to him. What if you were “mediocre” in your marriage? You’re not so great that your spouse can brag on you and you’re not so bad that they will leave you! They just end up  “putting up with you”! That’s mediocrity. What about your job? You’re not so bad that the boss will fire you, but you’re not so great that you can get a raise or promotion either! That’s mediocrity. God forgive us for being mediocre. Forgive us for just going through the motions and not giving it our all.

Minimum (The minimum is the least possible; smallest amount) Giving the minimum is doing the very least we can get by with. We want to live by the minimum Christian requirements:

  • Get saved
  • Go to church once a week
  • Give a little in the offering
  • Do a few good things
  • We give a little of ourselves but not all

Giving the minimum requirements of our life to God will result in building with wood, hay, and stubble (I Corinthians 3:10-16).  Yet too often we settle for the minimum. Too often we live in mediocrity and in the mundane. We do the minimum on our job, in our marriage, and in our Christianity. Remember, minimum effort brings minimum results. With great risk, comes great reward.  Tweet this . Sometimes a little isn’t enough. Sometimes the situation calls for a greater sacrifice. We have to be like Araunah and say “I give it all”. I am not holding back. God, whatever you want I give it.

Part 2 covers what giving it all looks like.

— Keith


    • I didn’t see it originally, but I looked it up after your comment. Wow! a powerful message. I always pray I can give my best to the Master. Thanks for your comments and encouragement.

    • In my Part 2 post I will cover what “giving our best” or “giving our all” looks like.

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