2002-03-06 - Was Christum Treibet
Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
I get quite a few emails from young people every week. Students in High School and College comprise many of the readers of Christian Fellowship Devotionals. So today I would like to dedicate this devotional to you because I hope to give you a slogan you can walk away with. It is a slogan we can all use. I even have it on some of my letterhead. It is not a slogan you are likely to hear anywhere else. It is more than 450 years old. It is not like the slogan of the 90's, Nike's, "Just Do it," but rather it has spiritual overtones. What would you expect?
Was Christum Treibet is German and literally means "What drives Christ." But this is not a BMW advertisement, so we need to translate it a little more fluently to make sense of it. A good rendering of the phrase is, "Whatever advances the cause of Christ." That's the slogan. In English it is good, but I would love to see Was Christum Treibet bumper stickers rather than the English equivalent. It really is a rally cry for Christians. Whatever advances Christ's cause, this I will do. As I said the German is 450 years old and so I am not even sure it is proper German today, but it was a slogan used by Martin Luther, who I consider the most significant historical figure of the last Millennium (and I'm not even Lutheran).
In many respects the Apostle Paul lived this slogan. He meets Christ and is converted in Acts 9, and in an instant his life completely changes. From that moment the New Testament records a man who was sold out for the cause of Christ. Nothing else mattered but those things that advanced the cause of Christ. But don't think this is some idealistic cake walk through life. Paul did not drive a Benz and live in a huge house for his labors -- not even close. Paul did not have it easy. Consider what he says in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27:
"Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonment's, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure."
So are you ready to do whatever advances the cause of Jesus Christ? It might cost you everything you have. But that's the discipline. We joyfully give up that which we have to serve the one who has given us everything that matters: forgiveness, mercy, grace, and eternal life with Him. Was Christum Treibet is not a call for the faint of heart. It is an anthem. It is a call to war against sin and satan. It might cost you your friends, maybe your family, maybe your life. But do you think for a moment that Paul second guessed his dedication to Christ? Maybe when he was swimming in the deep for a day and night, that would freak me out, but I really doubt it. Paul was someone who God greatly used. Paul was just a man. There is no reason why God cannot raise up any one of us and use us also for the advancement of His kingdom in a mighty way. So today I will break with tradition and change my sign off. I bid you...
Soli Deo Gloria,