In the church setting, people will often look at what a person does to determine how much they love God, or their spirituality. Even though we admit that we are not saved by works, that seems to be the one thing people look to in order to gauge spirituality.
Let’s look at a story I saw on Facebook:
A father looks upon his two sons without them knowing and watches them draw him pictures. The first son has drawn a nice picture of him and his father holding hands as stick figures and the father is proud. The second son has drawn something a bit different. He has used the entire box of markers, glitter, glue, craft paper… he skipped his free time to create the most audacious thing for his father and the father is proud. The first son then looks at the second’s picture and feels the need to point out how unnecessary the attention to detail and the use of different materials were in the creating of the picture. “It was a waste of time, Father will love my gift no less than yours, simple is better, he will not be impressed.” To which the second son replied, “I didn’t do it to gain his love, that we both have. I did it out of my love for him in the best way I knew how”.
Both sons loved their father, and they showed it the best way they knew how. For some, it is elegant, for others, it is very simple and basic. Show we compare how we show love to our Father? Of course not, yet we often do that within the church.
Don’t get me wrong, James 2:17 tells us that faith without works is dead. If we have faith, then works will follow, but works do not get us to closer fellowship with God.
The question becomes, do we gauge one’s spirituality by the works that they do? I would hope not.
I knew a pastor that was concerned that some members of the church thought they were more spiritual than they were, or would look down on others because of their lack of involvement. His proposed solution, create levels, and as people met certain goals (fellowship with others, giving, service, etc.), then they would be deemed to be on that level (i.e. more spiritual). I questioned that solution. After all, how is the solution to people elevating themselves and creating “classes” of spirituality, creating levels of spirituality?
The Pareto Principle (80-20) seems to feed into this class of spirituality, where those who serve and do more must love God more and be more spiritual. But like the two sons in the story above, maybe people are showing love to God the best way they know how. Let us not look down on people, rather build them up and help draw them closer to God. May they follow me, and follow you, as we follow God.
Show God that you love Him the best way you know how to today.