August 22, 2007
One of those “witness” T-shirts caught my attention recently. To be honest, I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the “Jesus junk” in the marketplace. In witnessing for Christ I believe your life is far more important than your linen. This shirt, however, was like fingernails on a chalk board for me. It was a take off on the familiar commercial for an office supply company. You know, the one with the big red button with “Easy” emblazoned on it. The implication is that if things at your office are chaotic and out of control all you have to do is hit the button and life is good again.
In the middle of this particular shirt was a big red button; but instead of “easy” it has “Jesus” written on it with “It’s just that easy” directly below the Jesus button. The implication? If life is chaotic, if things are spinning out of control, just a quick prayer to Jesus and life is good again.
Instead of being impressed with the creative “witnessing” tool, I cringed. I literally got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and I wanted to shout, “False advertising!” Why? Well, I’ve been walking with Jesus for a long time now and I can assure you it ain’t always “easy.”
A quick prayer lifted from an exasperated heart does not always result in instant relief from the trial or test. I suppose if you listened to some of the TV evangelists you could get the same idea this T-shirt conveyed. Drop a check in the mail with your “seed faith offering” and all of life’s trials will turn into your “miracle harvest.” However, my experience—and more importantly the Word of God—say otherwise.
I found this goofy T-shirt so irritating because this false teaching is permeating the evangelical community and it’s dangerous—dangerous because it gives false hope and false expectations to gullible Christians.
I remember the old Gospel song that I loved to sing that said in part, “and just a little talk with Jesus makes it right.” Catchy, but not true.
I’ve been through some experiences—and you probably have too—when you’ve had hundreds of “little talks” with Jesus and things have actually gotten worse. During some trying times with our family I remember crying and weeping all night long. I cried until there were no more tears. I pleaded with God to answer me, and yet the answer (for the time being) was nowhere in sight. If pushing the “Jesus button” was the answer my fingers would have been bloody from pushing. Make no mistake: God ultimately did answer; He brought miraculous answers to our family, but it wasn’t “easy” or quick.
What does Scripture say about the “Jesus button”? Consider these relevant passages (italics added):
· Acts 14:22 ”...and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
· 2 Tim. 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
· 1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
And there are many more. Jesus never promised us comfort, ease or convenience, but He did promise us His peace (John 14:27). He promised to never leave or forsake us (Matt. 28:20). He promised that when we walk through the deep, dark valleys we find in this life we would never be alone.
Our heavenly Father promised that “all things work together for good.” He promised that He would take those “all things” and “conform us to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:28-29). He never, however, promised that this life would be “easy.”
You’ve heard the phrase, “been there, done that, got the T-shirt.” I’ve been there, done that, but I think I’ll leave the “Jesus button” shirt hanging on the rack. I’m not going to be guilty of false advertising.
Bob Burney is Salem Communications’ award-winning host of Bob Burney Live, heard weekday afternoons on WRFD-AM 880 in Columbus, Ohio. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.