But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:18
The news service CNN informs me that a lot of people, especially young people, consider themselves to be SBNR. For those of you who, like me, sometimes aren't up on current phraseology, that's "Spiritual But Not Religious."
If you are SBNR, it means you don't need organized religion to live your life of faith. In other words, it's just you and God and nobody else.
Frankly, I can understand why a lot of folks, including some very close to me, consider themselves to be SBNR. First, it's convenient. You can worship God on your own time, in your own way. Second, it's honest. When you are SBNR, you don't have to worry about the latest scandal in the church, the hypocrisy, or the always-asking-for-money routine.
It sounds like SBNR is a pretty good deal.
Until I realized, my life has been shaped by people who were SAR -- Spiritual And Religious.
I was baptized by a pastor whose salary was paid for by a bunch of SARs. The parochial school, the high school, the college, and the seminary I attended were each funded by folks who were SAR. The first time I took Communion, it was out of vessels donated by a SAR. The funerals I have attended took place in churches which were designed, funded, and maintained by SARs.
Indeed, this devotion, The Lutheran Hour, the Men's NetWork, and everything Lutheran Hour Ministries does are funded by SARs.
Most importantly, I have been redeemed by a Savior who was Spiritual And Religious.
Now, I know it sounds really comfortable and convenient to try a do-it-yourself religion. But the truth is I just haven't seen many from that camp going out of their way to helping the lost, or taking Communion as the Lord instructed, or confessing their sins or, well, really doing any of the things the Lord says should come from the hearts of His redeemed people.
This is why, if you are SBNR, I would encourage you to take a second look at the path you are walking. Then, please consider as St. Paul says, letting the Lord arrange you in the Church, just as He wants you to be.
If not, now's the time to turn you over to Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands and let them move, at the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be, swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice and let me sing, always, only, for my King. Take my lips and let them be, filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use, every power as Thou shalt choose. Take my will and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own. It shall be Thy royal throne. Take my love, my Lord, I pour, at Thy feet its treasure-store. Take myself, and I will be, ever, only, all, for Thee. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
"Take My Life and Let It Be" by Frances R. Havergal, 1836-1879. (Text is from THE HANDBOOK TO THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL ~ St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1942) p. 287.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries