Truth or Consequences was a game show that originated on the radio in 1940, then graduated to television in the early 1950’s, lasting until 1988. Contestants were asked to correctly answer a trivia question or “Truth”. Typically there was either no correct answer, or the allotted time, often two seconds or less, would elapse. An incorrect answer or failure to beat the clock would subject the contestant to "Consequences," usually a zany and/or embarrassing stunt. Many contestants deliberately answered the question incorrectly in order to face the consequences. Stunts often included a surprise family reunion and many active military personnel were brought home to reunite with their families. When we accept the Truth that is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we no longer are subject to the consequences of our sinful lives. The punishment that our sinful behavior warrants has been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. Isaiah 53:5, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
So, once our lives truly belong to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the consequences of our sinful behavior are no longer counted against us, we are home free, right? Actually, there are many more consequences once we believe. We are no longer in control. When we are filled with the Spirit, our wants and desires become secondary to our Lord’s will. We truly become a new creation, placing our Lord in control of our lives. It’s not “What Would Jesus Do”, it’s what would our Lord want us to do to bring Him the glory. We cannot simply become a Christian without the desire to be a Disciple of Christ. And being a Disciple brings with it much responsibility, the greatest being to make disciples of all nations. This unconditional grace that grants us eternal life with our Father must be shared. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.“ If we selfishly keep the Good News to ourselves, we not only neglect our Lord’s command to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but also to love our neighbors as ourselves. For if we truly loved our neighbor as ourselves, we would want to share the gift of salvation with everyone.
The leaders of the ELCA have neglected their responsibility to engage in the mission to reach out to save the souls of those who do not know our Lord. So much money has been lost due to congregations leaving, by members who uphold the authority of Scripture and have left to join other denominations or began a new mission start, and by other ELCA members that have redirected their benevolences to Christ centered mission, that the ELCA mission budget has been slashed. The ELCA has budgeted less to mission in 2011 than what was budgeted in 1988. This is more than simply a sluggish economy. Something had to give if the ELCA was to continue their drive to transform the very foundation of Lutheranism. Something would have to be cut since the social justice agenda continues to be of utmost importance to this wayward denomination. Since the largest Lutheran denomination in North America has abandoned its’ duty to save the lost, it is even more important that more Christians step up and become Disciples.
Now is the time to get involved in mission. Now is the time to step out of your comfort zone and start sharing the peace of the Lord with someone outside of your secure and cozy church. There are so many missions looking for volunteers. There are many churches looking for partners in existing mission ministries and others wanting to share the Good News, but need partners to help them get started. Putting a few extra dollars in the collection plate is way too easy. It is time to “get some boots on the ground” and those boots belong to you. It is easy being a Christian. Will you step out and be what God calls you to be and become His Disciple? Matthew 4:19, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Use the gifts that God has blessed you with and reach out to the world. Take that first step and truly give yourself to Him. Don’t take the easy way out. Accept the consequences that come with being a Disciple of Christ, the Truth that sets you free.