Fred referred to people who compartmentalized their lives as “grapefruit people.” He believed in segmenting focus, but not values or faith. Years before marketplace ministries spoke to Christians about seven-day-a-week-faith Fred addressed the problem.
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While speaking in a large auditorium a gentleman walked by the door, sat at the back, and then called me the next day to schedule an appointment. He was from India, earned a PhD in chemistry, and followed Gandhi. I asked him about his observations of Americans.
“You Americans are segmented. A large part of your life is dedicated to making money. Another part is for family, another for social interaction, and another for religion. They are not tied together with any philosophical thread. It is as if you all are different people in each area of your life.”
I asked him to tell me about Dr. Gandhi. “He had all those areas but they were all an expression of his religion.” What a compliment!
He also nailed us, too.
Too bad, in the church we tend to take the spiritual compartment, dress it up, and show up on Sunday looking good. We have our sanctified vocabulary, our sweet smiles, and our holy handshakes. Then we tuck this away on Monday to wait for the next Sunday morning.
This thinking isn’t limited to the laity. I was speaking to a large group of seminary professors. Afterwards one of the distinguished professors posed the question, “Fred, how long have you been bivocational?” “What do you mean,” I asked. “How long have you had a ministry and a business?” “I’m not – that suggests one interest gets put above another or that I put one aside while doing the other. That’s not so. Hopefully, I am a whole person. Both my Christian laywork, my speaking, and my business are all expressions of that.”
I once saw William F. Buckley talking to Malcolm Muggeridge in a television interview. “Malcolm, I would find it difficult to speak to friends about anything spiritual.” Muggeridge’s simple reply: “I find it difficult not to.”
A measure of maturity in Christ is an integrated life…one that encourages fewer and fewer compartmentalizations. Maturity is achieved when all of life is an expression of faith.
This week think about:
1) How do I tend to compartmentalize? 2) What is my definition of spiritual maturity? 3) Where do I struggle to incorporate faith?
Words of Wisdom:
“Maturity is achieved when all of life is an expression of faith.”
Wisdom from the Word:
“If the first portion of the dough offered is holy, then the whole batch is holy, and if the root is holy, so too are the branches.” (Romans 11:16 NET Bible)
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