Today, Christianity encounters a world where authoritarian leaders seek nothing but power, and where avaricious marketeers seek nothing but profit. Indeed, we Christians must wrestle with the moral and spiritual challenges of being the love, the grace and the compassion of Jesus Christ in today’s world of power and profit.
Often, it has been asked, “What would Jesus do?” This is a well-intentioned question for Christians to ask as they ponder how to live out their faith. Perhaps I should ask this question more often so that I don’t fall into moral and spiritual complacency. But I confess that I don’t often ask this question because I believe with great confidence that I know well both what Jesus would do, and what Jesus would have me do. He would have me lift up the poor; feed the hungry; clothe the naked; heal the sick; defend the oppressed; welcome the stranger; befriend the friendless; love the unlovable; run after the prodigal; be the Samaritan who binds the wounds; love my neighbor as myself, and do for others as I would have them do for me.
Indeed, we Christians know what Jesus would have us do. So, the question I often ask is not WWJD, but WWJT — “What would Jesus think?” As He looks down upon us from above, what would Jesus think about Christianity? As He lives within our souls and witnesses our so-called “Christian” practices, what would Jesus think?
I ask this question because today’s Christianity seems to have gone astray. It seems that today’s Christianity has forgotten what true leadership is. Christians today support leaders who crave power, and the control that that power affords. Have we forgotten that Jesus said, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve?” (Mark 10:45) Do we remember that He also said, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all?” (Mark 9:35) Has Christianity forgotten that true leadership is service, not domination; that true power is sacrifice, not control? What would Jesus think?
It seems that today’s Christianity has forgotten what true wealth is. Christianity today no longer sees its worth as the body of Christ that daily endures the cross for others. Rather, it values itself as an institution, struggling to be relevant or merely to survive.
Christians today no longer see the worth of others as rightful heirs of Christ’s compassion. Rather, they either value their neighbors only as benefactors of the ecclesiastical enterprise or devalue them as mere beggars for bits of the church’s charity.
Today’s Christians vend their religion like a spiritual commodity rather than freely share the grace of God, as Christ did (and still does). Have we forgotten that Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me?” (Matthew 25:40) Has Christianity forgotten that true wealth is not how much we have but how much we sacrifice? What would Jesus think?
Has today’s Christianity gone astray? I understand that Christianity today is striving to make itself relevant in the world by seeking power and profit. But it is time for today’s Christians to remember the ancient lessons of Jesus Christ. The true relevance of power is service. The true relevance of profit is sacrifice. It’s time for today’s Christians to ask: WWJT?