Blogger Jon Acuff has written about what he calls “Jesus Jukes”. Here is his definition of the “Jesus Juke”:
Like a football player juking you at the last second and going a different direction, the Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.
I would argue that “Jesus Jukes” are not limited to “joke filled conversation.” I believe the “Jesus Juke” can happen in serious conversations as well.
This morning, I was reading a report about an Indiana UM church that has an incredible ministry feeding hungry people in their community. They average about 110 in worship. And, they tend to serve over 100 meals to hungry children, men, and women. They serve lunches anytime school is out (Spring Break, Christmas Break, summer vacation). They also provide free books and tutoring. The story was incredible.
Then came the “Jesus Juke” in the comment section. The comment simply said, “This is good – but are you teaching them Jesus?”
In my opinion, the author of the comment should have stopped with “This is good.” Generally, when someone inserts a “but” they are going to discredit whatever they said prior to the “but.” Kind of like, “I really don’t mean to offend you, BUT…” and then you proceed to say something ridiculously offensive.
Seriously…you hear a story about a church feeding hungry people and your question is “are you teaching them Jesus?” It’s like the author of the comment was discrediting the feeding of the hungry because the pastor and church members are not “preaching the Gospel” or offering altar calls at the end of lunch.
Church-folk have a tendency to do this…to overlook the incredible ministry that is taking place in order to get to the bottom line. “Are you teaching them Jesus?” “How many people got saved?” These are questions we commonly hear.
I’ll never forget having someone ask me how many people we “saved” in Guatemala. My response was, “Well, we built tables and benches for a feeding center that feeds around 100 kids everyday. We worked on the foundation of a house for a soon-to-be-homeless family. We did a lot of work on the clinic, which sees a great deal of people on a daily basis. So, while we didn’t exactly pray the ‘sinners prayer’ with anyone, I’d guess we probably ‘saved’ around 300 people…give or take.”
Of course, it wasn’t the answer he was looking for. However, it might be the answer Jesus is looking for. It doesn’t seem like Jesus is keeping a “souls saved” score card for his followers. At the end of my life, I don’t think Jesus is going to ask me “how many people did you save?”
However, Jesus might ask me how many hungry people I fed. He might ask me how many naked people I clothed. He might ask me how many sick and imprisoned people I visited and cared for. He might ask me how I cared for the orphaned, the widowed, the least of these. He might ask how I provided shelther for the homeless.
While I might like to talk about how many kids “came to Jesus” at a middle school camp I directed…and Jesus might be pleased…I think he might indicate that, while that’s “all good stuff”, I may have missed the point.
Maybe, as Christians, we could stop “Jesus Juking” everything and start celebrating together. We should celebrate people “getting saved” through the means of verbally preaching the Gospel. We should celebrate people “getting saved” by being fed, tutored, and cared for in practical ways.
I don’t know…feel free to “Jesus Juke” me anytime. Just know that I’ll probably make fun of you!
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.” ~Matthew 25:34-46