A question that has been rolling around in my mind for some time now is, "How big is your gospel?" A majority of evangelical Christians seem to keep their understanding of "gospel" in a small box called "personal salvation." If you were to ask them why Jesus died, their response would probably be, "To save me from going to hell." Not going to argue that. However, I'm wondering if the gospel of Jesus was meant to be a bit larger.
For example, the apostle Paul in his 1st letter to Corinth said, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." Did you get that? Jesus paid a price for us, therefore we should honor Him with our bodies.
Question: How serious are you about taking care of your body? What's your diet consist of? Exercise much? How much sleep are you getting? But, but, but what.? Think about it! If we really believe that our bodies aren't our own. If we really believe that the price Christ paid on the cross for us has any value, then shouldn't the church consist of some of the most health conscious people on the planet? How could we answer no? How big is our gospel? Is it big enough to include the physical bodies that the Holy Spirit chooses to reside in?
Take another Scripture, Psalm 24:1, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Let's talk a little bit about creation. Is the earth the Lord's? Are we not responsible for being good stewards of the earth? At some point, don't you think the gospel should intersect taking care of God's planet. If indeed it does, which I believe it should, wouldn't you think the church should be one of the most environmental friendliest organizations on the planet? Please understand I'm asking myself these questions at the same time I'm asking you. Have you ever heard a message in church on recycling or littering? Ever heard a sermon on trying to reduce energy consumption or product consumption to help save natural resources and reduce landfill waste? Has the thought ever occurred to us that our natural resources will eventually not be able to keep up with our increasing rate of consumption and that our landfills are running out of land. Really, How big is our gospel? Is it big enough to include the earth that God created and entrusted to our care?
If I'm honest, I'm still trying to work these questions out in my own life. At times, I still find myself making poor health decisions and using more natural resources than I should. Nevertheless, I'm still convinced that Christ cares not only for your salvation but He also cares about your bodies health and your planets health. This is an invitation to join me in growing the gospel because its size matters.
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)