Here’s a needed reminder for American Christians: Neither Jesus nor his early followers were worried about their civil or inalienable rights they had. Instead they simply went about their business of kingdom living and they became a revolutionary movement among their world.
Not convinced? Don’t believe me? Ok. Here is one summation of the life Jesus lived:
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. (NRSV)
By divine right Jesus was entitled to rule the world as Lord but gave up that right for the sake of the world. This was the life he chose to live and it became the life his followers learned to live. It was a life in which the first became the last (cf. Mk 9:35).
In America, we love their inalienable rights. But could we who follow Jesus let go of our concern for protecting and preserving our rights? It may come to a point where we have to decide whether we would rather have the American dream or see the gospel of Jesus flourish. In fact, we may have already reached that fork in the road where we must choose one or the other.
My friend Amy and her husband are Christians and American citizens. For the last year, they have been living in Switzerland for work purposes. Here is an observation Amy makes about the Swiss culture:
I live in probably the most free country on Earth. Swiss citizens enjoy almost every benefit imaginable through their legal system. This is truly a country of health and wealth. Every citizen has the right to bear arms, at the age of 65 they get a full pension, if a woman becomes a widow she is aided by the state to maintain her standard of living. Every citizen votes on every single issue (the ballots look like books), they have seven presidents, each representing each party. The tax system attracts large business which in turns brings wealth to the country. All citizens have health care, most enjoy a healthy lifestyle. The poor can receive help through foundations. Most citizens obey the law, there is very little crime, very little violence. They shut down business on Sunday and you don’t run your lawnmower or wash your car on that day. They have beautiful steeples built by mostly the Reformers, which are practically empty. They enjoy religious holidays that they really don’t understand. For the most part God doesn’t exist here. My guess is because the Way of the cross would be a threat to all that they enjoy. Let Him in and your going to have to rethink the way you do business and what you hold sacred. No wonder we need to reconsider what we treasure.
May we have the courage to et the same mindset of Christ be our mindset!