One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years is how a lot people get involved with various causes.
Why do people do this? Because people like to get participate in causes they believe will bring about change and make things better.
Nothing wrong with that!
For example, some people like to advocate for better treatment of pets, the elderly or minorities. Other people get passionate about issues such as urban renewal, stopping domestic violence or ending abortion. Some people are all about cleaning up the environment or making food safer.
You’ve likely noticed that the internet is brimming with advocacy websites where people can give money, sign petitions or register to volunteer.
The disruptions of 2020, whether they be due to medical, political or social issues, have only added to the amount of causes which people can attach themselves to.
Some causes are great, while some are suspect. Some causes are propelled by pure motives; others have roots that are more insidious. It takes a bit of discernment to figure the difference between a good cause and a cause that may be misguided!
The primary reason I know people are engaged in various causes is mainly through social media. That’s where I find people posting about the causes they believe in and the actions they feel should take place to resolve some of life’s problems.
There are a lot of causes I’m all for. Our world is far from perfect, and sometimes we need advocates to help bring about change in order to better our world.
But when it comes to our myriad of causes, I have a thought: for us Christians, we ought not pursue our cause to the point it impedes or supersedes the cause of the Gospel. That’s because sharing and spreading the Gospel is the greatest cause. Nothing else comes close!
More than anything in this life, people need to know about the forgiveness and peace and restoration that comes from embracing a relationship with Jesus.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t get involved in worthy causes. I’m just saying we ought not let our investment in our particular cause do anything that might veer people away from clearly seeing Jesus and his message of spiritual reconciliation. Practically speaking, my concern would be that we become too combative or dismissive toward others as we seek to advance our cause.
I’m thinking that we ought never allow our advocacy (for whatever we might be passionate about) make it harder for someone to find new life in Christ.
See, we typically embrace a cause because we care. We believe in the mission. Which is great! (It really doesn’t make sense to join of a cause that really doesn’t interest you.)
Yet, I wonder if such passion and devotion can sometimes cause us to become so wrapped up in our personal cause that we temporarily forget about the cause above all causes.
In other words, as a result of a strong devotion to our personal cause, we might be in danger of building barriers to the Gospel rather than constructing of bridges.
Simply put, if I’m not willing to defer my passion for my personal cause for the greater cause of reaching others for Christ, I likely need to check my heart and reestablish my priorities.
In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul wrote about his rights and authority as an apostle. Yet, even though Paul possessed these rights, he didn’t feel he had to insist upon them being practiced. Paul let the Corinthians know that, if he wanted to, he could have pressed them in a few areas, such as being monetarily supported for his labor and having a family. In other words, Paul could have pressed his causes upon the Corinthian Christians.
But what does Paul say the causes he could have pushed? Check out his response:
If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News. (1 Corinthians 9:17-18 NLT)
Bottom line, Paul was a man who, like a lot of us, had opinions and passions about things, but he knew when to set those opinions and passions aside whenever the Gospel was involved.
So, causes are great. It’s good to have issues we are concerned about and seek to do something about them. I’m all for making our world a better place.
But may we never lose sight of the greatest of causes: the message of light, life, grace and hope. More than anything, people need Jesus.