I'm not sure if you've had the same experiences I've had as a believer in Jesus, but when it comes to sharing Christian values with the culture around us, we often find ourselves at odds. In fact, they seem to view the Christian value system as something almost alien. Comments I've heard from my co-workers include:
"You go to church how many times a week?"
"You actually give 10% of your income every paycheck?"
"If they're not compensating you for your time invested, stop giving of your time."
In human terms, any one of those statements makes complete sense! Why waste time and money and energy on something that isn't giving you an equal return, right? Why does God "need" your money anyway...RIGHT? Our culture is notoriously confused by us Christians, perhaps now more than ever. They undoubtedly view our commitments to God, His House, and His Kingdom, to be a bit one-sided.
But I want to challenge that notion! I understand that being in relationship with God requires some things on my part. What I think most people, believer and non-believer alike, don't understand is that God did all of the heavy lifting when it came to commitment long before we ever darkened the door of the church house, volunteered at one fundraiser or Sunday service, or dropped one red cent into the offering bag! Before we ever committed a single thing to Him, He committed some monumental things to us!
GOD COMMITTED TO MAKING YOUR LIFE DESPITE ITS POTENTIAL FOR SIN:
We all know the story of Creation; of Adam and Eve. We know the fallout because we're living it! But have you ever stopped to consider that God knew Adam would fail? He knew Eve would be deceived! He knew the curse that would come upon all the creation under Adam's authority because of his treasonous sin. YET, God chose to make mankind anyway!
Jeremiah 1:5a says, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee..."
God knew. Regardless of the circumstance that got you in the womb, God knew and He chose to involve Himself with you. He chose this despite the potential, and dare I say, the tendency in you to sin! King David said it like this:
"You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed..."
Psalm 139:13, 15-16a
God knew Adam would fail, but He made Adam anyway. He gave him a shot at this existence, knowing the likelihood of failure and even having to have a contingency plan in place, God still made Adam. It's safe to say that we are no better than Adam. Our inclinations are like his. Our failures, just as treasonous. Our existence, just as wrought with mistakes. Yet God chooses us. He chooses to involve Himself in the formation of people who may never choose themselves to know Him or accept His free gift of salvation.
Nevertheless, God chooses to build a counter-potential into them, that when partnered with the redeeming love of Christ, can create a new trajectory upon which their life, our life, can soar toward His purpose for us, despite our sinful nature! That's the goodness of God toward ALL people, regardless of their commitments to Him. I heard it said once (by who, I can't remember honestly), that for nine months, it's just you and God. He is building that counter-potential into you that He paid a great price to activate one day. That as many as believe on Him, to them He can give the power to be His sons & daughters!