Read Mark 7:5-7
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him,”Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
6 Jesus replied,”You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you,for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ (NLT)
Church leaders often get wrong views of people. An individual regularly attends church,gets involved in the church,is generally pleasant and cooperative. So we assume they have a vital personal relationship with Jesus. We may be mistaken.
It is rather easy to exist on a sort of second-hand spirituality. They live off the spirituality of others. This is not to make a judgement about whether or not they are Christians. Rather it is to accept the possibility that in all their sermon hearing and rostered duties and robust singing there might not be much going on at a deeper level.
Is this being too cynical? Not if we avoid forming firm conclusions and simply hold to possibilities. If church members are not forming deeper personal relationships with God,then all the other activity is at risk of falling into the category described by our text.
Encouraging people to be more involved in the church is a good thing but must be accompanied by another good thing: encouraging them to go deeper into the life and love of Jesus. This applies to leaders as well. It is so easy to live off the buzz and activity of a church,or the example of others. Much harder to live things out for ourselves.
I don’t just want to appear to be a follower of Jesus. I want to truly follow him.