The question has often been asked, “Can Christians dance?” The real answer to the question is, “Some can, some can’t.” (Just like any other group of people!) Having been a churchgoer for most of my life, and a follower of Christ for nearly 40 years, I’ve often heard debates on the do’s and don’ts of living out our faith. These range from going to the movies or doing any kind of work on Sunday to whether drinking alcohol, even in moderation, is a taboo.
We also find disagreement on a wide range of traditional practices, like baptism, communion, forms of worship, who are qualified for church leadership roles, and which version of the Bible to use.
You could probably add other topics to the list. Most of these are subject for discussion – sometimes, even bitter dispute – because the Scriptures aren’t absolute on them, leaving room for interpretation and personal conviction. A lot of time and energy is expended seeking to resolve the seemingly unresolvable, while failing to devote nearly as much attention and effort to indisputable matters.
We become so focused on the “don’ts,” we forget about the “do’s.”
For example, the Bible says we’re all responsible for telling others about Jesus, that it’s not just the job for paid professionals. However, studies indicate in the typical church, less than 10 percent of its members have spoken to even one person about Christ in the past year.
This despite the clear admonition, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15). Nowhere does this suggest it applies only to pastors and missionaries.
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He gave His followers one final, ironclad mandate: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). And yet, every year new books and sermon series address the why’s and how’s of discipleship and disciplemaking, as if it’s a newly discovered, 21st century concept. We have Sunday schools and small groups, but relatively few congregations place emphasis on what Jesus commanded: to make disciples – devoted followers, learners and spiritual reproducers.
Nevertheless, His mandate is unquestionable. In 2 Timothy 2:2, the apostle Paul told his young protégé, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” Later, while in prison, toward the end of his life, the apostle also wrote, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9). In other words, be a disciple…and make disciples.
The Scriptures present numerous other “to do’s,” ranging from “love your neighbors as yourselves” (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, James 2:8) and “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12), to numerous exhortations in both the Old and New testaments to serve and minister to the poor, the needy, widows and orphans, and the helpless.
We’re told to make others a top priority – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4). As well as to be “salt and light,” to provide savor and illumination for an increasingly embittered and darkened world (Matthew 5:13-15).
These just scratch the tip of the Bible’s “iceberg” of positive commands. What if we spent as much time (or more) focused on the things we know without a doubt we should do, as we do commiserating about what we shouldn’t do? Perhaps more people would realize what we already know: That the gospel of Jesus Christ truly is Good News.
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.