“I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too” (I Kings 19:14). That sounds like someone having a pity party, and it was. It was the great prophet Elijah.
Many Christians feel like Elijah at times. America has wandered so far from God that going to church can be a sad experience. Many churches are only empty shells of their past glory. They have large, unused or underused, facilities with many rows of empty pews, and only a handful of worshipers. It is a sad sight, making it easy for Christians to feel discouraged.
When we feel that, we need to remind ourselves that we, like Elijah, are not seeing the whole picture. God told Elijah: “I have seven thousand who are still pure and true to me” (I Kings 19:18).
We shouldn’t let appearances discourage us. Though Christianity is declining in America, it is growing like wildfire in other nations. In America, particularly in the Bible Belt, we may be witnessing Christianity shedding its cultural (a set of values, conventions, or social practices of a particular area) captivity, and that is good.
The numbers may grow smaller, but the quality will increase. Remember Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7:13. The road with the largest crowd was the one leading to destruction. As Christians, we don’t need large crowds. All we need is Jesus. The good news is He will never leave us, or forsake us. It is time to leave the pity parties, stand up straight, and get on with God’s work.
Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.people-for-the-christian-way.org