THE QUESTION that CHANGED MY LIFE – by David Ryser

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    Ron McGatlin
    Keymaster

    THE QUESTION that CHANGED MY LIFE
    -by David Ryser

    A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school
    of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly
    searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with
    Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across
    a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short
    version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this:

    Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece
    and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution;
    it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and
    became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19
    years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand
    and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding,
    “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha,
    the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not
    imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was
    self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless,
    I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked
    such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be
    a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going,
    and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued,
    “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

    The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or
    spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the
    presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were
    on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was,
    “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought
    aloud. God had taken over the class.

    Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about
    her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a
    business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her
    question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically,
    is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we
    love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

    … I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not
    know God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates
    in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what
    we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would
    bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him
    for His money, and we don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we
    can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business,
    merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded
    to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s pretty
    intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love
    someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone,
    is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or
    prostitutes?

    I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered
    the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?”
    I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does
    what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but
    only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would
    happen if God stopped paying me?”

    For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover
    my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of
    God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He
    never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please
    understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The
    issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is
    the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings
    in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have
    earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any
    conditions? It took several months to work through these questions.
    Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by
    my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed
    with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in
    my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved,
    but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

    So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute?
    There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for
    that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both
    places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no
    substitute or unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I
    mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another
    look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose.

    -Dr. David Ryser.


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