I’m a city boy. I like big cities–the hustle and bustle, the active life, conveniences, professional sports, etc. So, imagine my surprise when God called us to Corbin, KY, in September 2009. It has been a bit of adjustment moving from the greater Atlanta metro area to rural, southeastern Kentucky.
One of the things that I have noticed here is that the effects of the curse of sin seem to be more obvious here. Don’t get me wrong, in the “squeaky clean” suburbs, the curse of sin is there big time! It’s just hidden underneath a veneer of perfectly manicured lawns, curb and gutter streets and pristine, up-scale strip malls. Underneath all of that lies the rotten and putrid wasteland that is sin–drug abuse, infidelity, addiction, domestic violence and the list goes on. You don’t really see it unless you happen to pick up the newspaper or serve on the grand jury, as I had the opportunity to do last summer. Boy, was that an eye opening experience!
But here in Corbin, it seems to be all laid bare before my eyes every day. I see the curse of sin all around me. We don’t have the perfectly manicured lawns and the up-scale strip malls to mask the ugly underbelly of our sinful surroundings. As I look around, I see people who seem to lack hope and purpose for their lives. I’m sure this same lack of hope and purpose exists in the suburbs, too, but it seems more obvious here.
I am reminded of Romans 8:20 and following, where Paul says, “the creation was subjected to frustration…” and “…has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth…” The effects of sin are all around us.
With the effects of sin so obvious to me, I have two thoughts. One, from 2 Timothy 4:8–I long for Christ’s appearing when this world will finally be released from the curse of sin. Two, from Matthew 9:37-38, there is much to be done.
I’ve taken several spiritual gift inventories over the years. At various times, one gift is higher than another as I believe God gifts us in differing ways to accomplish His purposes at various times. I think if I were to take an inventory right now, one of my highest gifts would probably be in the area of prophesy (no, not prophesy as in telling the future or some special revelation. Instead, I mean telling it the way it is according to God’s Word). As I look at Jesus, it was the pagans who loved Him and the religious people who hated Him. I think pastors and churches too often spend more time and resources appeasing religious people than loving pagans. Hence, Christians are more often known as unloving, judgmental, hypocritical and a whole laundry list of unpleasant adjectives.
My patience with religious people is quickly waning. If we could reach the world by showing up for Sunday School at 9:30am, worship at 10:45am, evening worship at 6:00pm on Sundays and prayer meeting at 6:30pm on Wednesdays, we would have already done so! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If we’re going to reach our world for Christ, the salt has got to be out of the salt shaker!
The difference between the cosmopolitan areas I’ve lived and the micropolitan area I now live has caused me to develop a sense of urgency. I now see people groaning under the curse of sin not realizing that there is a better way to live–in the power and freedom that only Christ can bring. But God’s people–whether in suburbia or rural burgs–are too busy having church and thinking they are pleasing God.
What do you think? Post a comment.