Dear God, I visited a Methodist church yesterday and there was a guest preacher, Colleen Haley. She gave a really good sermon, but this one line stood out to me: “Too many of us are citizens of the culture and dabblers in the faith.” I really liked that. It took me back to something I’ve thought before about myself and others: we treat Christianity more like a philosophy to live our lives by than a submitted, worshipful relationship with you. And I’m guilty of it too. Maybe I fight against that tendency more than most, but I’m certainly “prone to wander,” as the line in. “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” says.
But the phrase citizen of the culture and dabbler in the faith was particularly convicting. What does it mean to be a citizen of the culture? What does a citizen of heaven here on earth look like? The question that might condemn me the most: Which one does my life more closely represent?
Maybe I can look at the parable of the farmer scattering seed on the different types of soil (Matthew 13). I think the dabbler in the faith citizen of the culture is best represented by the soil filled with weeds and thorns: “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.“ Conversely, the citizen of heaven is represented by the hood soil: “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Father, help me to let go of the cares of this life and the lures of wealth. I confess that I’ve been a little materialistic and selfish lately. I’ve cared more about myself than sharing what I have with others. I’ve cared more about my own respite and entertainment than about worshipping you. I’ve probably been more of a citizen of the culture and dabbler in the faith than I’d like to admit. I’m sorry.
In Jesus’s name I pray,