I've been thinking about what happens to a young man after he receives Christ and the link that may tell us why he doesn't become the disciple that Christ expected him to become.
When I received Jesus Christ I was a college student. I was baptized the next Sunday evening. Then I asked a number of people, "Now, what is next?" College came after high school...there must be something that comes after a monumental decision like this one.
No one seemed to be able to give me the answer about what comes after my public declaration of my faith and baptism. Several adults told me that I was now a member of their church. A few more told me to join a Sunday school class. I never attended a class on Sunday morning, but I did attend worship my entire senior year.
After graduation I joined the military and got lost in the world for the next few years.
I'm afraid that what happened to me is multipled thousands of times each day. A young man or woman receives savior of the world, but never makes Jesus the Lord of their lives. Those last few words are foreign lingo to them---nobody ever helps them past first base!
About this same time in the life of this 20 Something, he is trying to find his place in the world. He or she may have a very good job, but they are trying to figure out how to get ahead. Maybe they are dating, or even recently married. They are searching for meaningfulness and can't seem to define it.
Let's assume that this ficticious person attends a worship at a contemporary church and thinks it is a pretty cool place. He enjoys the praise singing, the different styles of visual presentation, and the messages seem to be so practical. He can apply so many of them to his work environment and the people he is meeting. He gives a token offering each pay day and thinks everybody does the same thing.
Now, ten years pass by. The young man is now 35 years old, married to a great woman he met through a mutual friend, and they have two beautiful children. They both have very good jobs and are "rising stars" with their respective corporations. They make more money than they ever thought possible. They are very good parents and dad looks forward to coaching both kids in soccer and baseball in just a few years.
They both decided to get involved in the church "for the sake of the children". So they chose a church that would be "new" to both of them. They now attend large "First Church" where all the up and comers rub elbows with each other. Sunday morning worship is rather traditional and somewhat stuffy, but they are always bringing in nationally known speakers like Bill Gates. Our young man gave $50 a pay period for several years, but since their income increased so dramatically, they have increased their giving to $75. There has not been much of a change in their lives religiously.
If everything remains the same in this family's life, the chance for genuine change and growth is alarmingly low. By the time the kids become teenagers, the parents will be busier than ever and the whole family will be driving themselves as hard as they can. When the kids leave home and the nest is empty, nothing will really change, except maybe the hole created by the missing children. When they become grandparents life will probably be not a whole lot different. Maybe now "Jed", our main character will be an usher or greeter for the church.
Stay tuned for the next installment and see what could have been for Jed and his family.