Spiritual Welfare State



I was just having a chat with someone about the following verses:

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. 
Hebrews 5:11-6:3.

It often surprises me how needy we church people are. So, here is a rant for you to critique. Why is it the norm in the church structure that everyone must always be a subservient student sitting at the feet of the pastor-daddy or the teacher-mommy? When are we allowed to grow up and not have to sit through sermon after sermon, the substance of which we have heard a million times already?

When do we get to be grown-ups? When can we be trusted to FEED OURSELVES? And how arrogant is it to believe that one person should be responsible for the spiritual diet of the entire group of Saints?

This reminds me of the welfare mentality so pervasive in our country. Designed to provide a temporary leg-up for people in distress, it has morphed into a fulltime “I-don’t-have-to do-anything-for-myself” gravy train. So, able-bodied men and women – generation after generation, mind you – have no sense of responsibility for their own livelihood, relying upon the government to feed them and take care of their needs.

The Scriptures are quite clear on the subject: For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat. II Thessalonians 3:10-12.

While these verses apply to people regarding their physical livelihood, it also applies to their spiritual livelihood. People sit dumb-faced week after week, year after year like little birds, their mouths open wide to receive the pre-chewed-food the pastor has already digested for them. Why does the clergy-class perpetuate the anti-biblical welfare state among the Saints? And more astonishing, why do we, the people, allow it to continue?

It’s like we remain little kids for the rest of our lives, relying upon our pastor-daddy to meet all of our spiritual needs. My kids are now in their late twenties to middle thirties. How dysfunctional would it be if they all depended upon me to feed them, meet all their needs, and raise their children? Once they were old enough to get out of house and marry, they were released to make their own family, to guide them, teach them and equip them to face the obstacles of their own lives.

It amuses me to ask people to tell me about their ecclesiastical baggage (church background). What I’ve discovered is almost no one was raised in one denomination and stayed there for life. In generations past, it was a badge of honor to say that was true. But now, we are consumers. We shop from church to church – some trips varying widely from Baptist to Charismatic or some mainline church to house church.

Pastors despise this phenomenon. Many have taken to forcing the Saints to not only join their church but to sign an additional loyalty statement in an effort to exercise control over their wanderings.

But I think it is indicative of good things happening in the Kingdom.

If you have been in one church with the same pastor for seven years you have heard everything he has and you will never hear anything fresh.

Most people can’t wait seven years.

Here is my thought: If you are a church-going person, move from church to church, denomination to denomination at will. Go to the Baptists and glean the good they have on the place of the Bible in life; go to the Presbyterians and find out about predestination; go to the Charismatics and have some fun; Pentecostals are all the Gift of Tongues, so go get what they have. All in all, each of them has a historical piece of the puzzle, so why not go get it from them?

But in the end, there is just you, your family, and Father. Therein lies the reality of pure Kingdom life. Outside of Sunday morning services and Sunday School, there is real life. Why not learn THAT? Just sit around and talk about Father.

THAT’S where the real joy lies!
Tim Mather
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