Many times we ascribe success and approval to numbers. Therefore we say, churches must be doing something right if they have 10K followers on their IG page. They must be on the right path if they get 2 million video views from something they share on FB. They must be obtaining the applause of God if a status they share is liked over two thousand times. We pat ourselves on our back because our church pews are filled with people. We elevate certain leaders and place them on a pedestal based on the applause they acquire after speaking.
When I read scripture I read about Daniel who was willing to be thrown into a pit of lions rather than stop praying based on a law. I read about Josiah who after finding the law removed everything from his kingdom that displeased God. I read about David who endured years in the wilderness and Joseph who was falsely accused of a crime and sat in prison but never turned their back on God. I read about the early believers who faced persecution and death but continued preaching the Word of God.
I think of those in parts of the world who walk miles in order to get to a church service. I think of those sitting in churches with dirt floors and no electricity. I think of those in countries with persecution yet they continue holding services underground. I think of those who face death today for simply believing in Jesus and yet they continue to not only believe but tell others about our Savior.
I wonder if when He walks through the doors of some of our churches if He would even know the service was about Him. Does He look down from heaven and shake His head at the pastor dressed up as Santa the Sunday before Christmas and asks "What in the world is that person doing?" I wonder if He looks over our shoulders as we are scrolling through social media and rolls His eyes when he sees the pictures and videos churches posts of the Hollywood inspired movie sermons series, Super Bowl Sunday jersey services, Easter Bunny egg hunts and Youth Disco Nights . Does it please Jesus to hear preachers leading "How to grow one's church" conferences and talk about all of the methods one must adopt in order to grow one's church but never mention prayer? I wonder if Jesus looks at the thousands of "likes, post shares and comments" a big-named Christian leader gets on social media and says out loud "that isn't even Biblical." I wonder if he would say to leaders "you are doing a great job filling up the week with activities but you've done nothing to draw them closer to me."
How can He be pleased when attempts to fill the pews have led to compromise? How can He be pleased with programs designed to attract the crowd fail to mention to His name? How can He be pleased when prayer is pushed out and secular music is played before church services? How can He be pleased when leaders justify discarding scripture because they don't want to offend anyone? How can He be pleased when people take the place of God and say that anything that draws people to services is okay because pews are filled? How can He be pleased when Bibles sit collecting dust and messages are given to attract applause rather than repentance? How can He be pleased when cultural relevance is more important to leaders than Biblical truth? How can He be pleased when the numbers of those who sit in the pews is more important than their souls?