I was speaking to a young lady on Monday, her name is Grace. I would say she was in her early 20’s, polite and well educated.
Grace was telling me about a recent discussion that she had with her bank.
It was time for her debit card to be renewed and her bank was pushing their new touch pay technology. This is where you simply touch the receiver at the checkout and the transaction is taken without you having to sign or type in your pin. It is also known as “Contactless Payment”.
Grace was rightly concerned about the risks of such technology. Although there is a maximum payment of around £30 when used it does make it too easy to spend. She conceded that on a night out “things can get messy”. With cash, if you run out, you run out.
Grace is also aware of the nightmare tales of pirate electronic sensors being placed under cafe tables, park benches and in bus stops etc that can extract funds through this technology directly from your bank account.
Her considerations of the risks were indeed justified and ones that I share.
I currently have a touch pay card that was automatically sent to me from my bank, so I have a secure wallet (Pac Safe) that contains a material that blocks such pirate technology.
Grace told me that she relayed her concerns to the bank and for these reasons she did not want to pursue the offer. She was happy to keep her more traditional card.
The reason why I relay this tale to you is because of the reply she received from the bank representative to win her over to the idea. “It is so much easier, everyone has it”.
This reply got me thinking!
I repeat for effect “It is so much easier, everyone has it.”
This was the line given by the bank, perhaps with the best intentions, but it struck a chord with me.
This phrase is possibly the best summary I have heard to describe the modern world. “It is so much easier, everyone has it.”
We live in a culture of convenience, if it is easier for us, whatever the cost to others, whatever the cost to the environment or to our own lives, the better! And if everyone else is doing it, well, then it’s ok! We are in a democracy after all, the masses have spoken!
The word ‘democracy’ that so freely guides our society comes from the Greek words Demos and Kratos, meaning “Power and People,” which sounds quite romantic, and it can be.
However, Thomas Jefferson, the founding father of the United States and principle author of the Declaration of Independence was said to have said
“Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%.”
This is of course a risk, such a system is actually know as an Ochlocracy, the rule of the general populace, or the tyranny of the majority, the mob (Ochlos), “mob rule”.
Any governing principle that simply follows the desire of the masses, over a moral code of what is right and wrong, can of course be very dangerous. But such is the understanding of what people think democracy is and their life choices are then governed by it.
We want convenience and if it is accepted by the masses then it must be OK.
“It is so much easier, everyone has it.” This could be the quote that captures the Zeitgeist for the 21st Century.
Before I go on, I do realise the hypocrisy in my writing, we are all guilty of of desiring an easier life, especially me and I am often happy to justify it by other peoples standards! I am guilty as charged!
But having such an attitude is why we often fail as Christians and why the church is facing such a crisis in our society.
For example, it has become widely accepted in today’s culture not to come to church. So the common thought is that “if nobody else is going, then it must then be OK if I do not go!”
Church has now become inconvenient. “Sunday is the only day I get to have a lie in”.
There are now so many things to do on a Sunday like sports and shopping, visiting family or even catching up on work emails. Church has been relegated to yet another choice of convenience that has to compete with the fast food economy of the world.
We do thank God that church still might fit in at some point, one week in fifty-two (usually around Christmas or Easter), when the shops are so full nobody wants to go, and there is no sport on, but that is only because at these times church “is so much easier, everyone has it.”
You maybe surprised to know that this is certainly not a modern problem; church attendance has fluctuated up and down throughout the ages. There were less members at Noddfa in 1900 than there are now, people clearly thought they had “better things to do” back then.
Yes, there were times where society made it law to attend and times where people were culturally pressured to come, but those that were forced to come to church were no more a Christian than those with no desire to attend today. They only came because it was convenient and followed the masses.
Jesus spoke about such desire in Matthew 6:21, He said; “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. If your heart is with God, then you would desire to worship Him in the manner He has decreed in His Word (the Bible), you would thirst for His Word preached, and grow hungry for His truth and you would long to spend every moment you can with your covenant family. If you are then a Christian, church on a Sunday is the place for you!
Whatever treasure you put in the way of such privileges, that would stop you interacting with God in this way, is where you heart is, and if your heart is not with Jesus, but on the things of this world, on the day of judgement you will hear the scary words of “I never knew you, away from me”(Matthew 7:23).
Yes, it is nice to have an easier life; I have often succumbed to the temptation of convenience and have often followed the crowd to justify my stance.
But just like when Grace rightfully (in her case) refused to fall into the trap of ease and mass consensus, we cannot do the same when it comes to God.
In fact Jesus clearly commands us to do the very opposite. He says
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
I am of course for Democracy, but it can only be sustained by a moral backbone of truth, one that protects us from the tyranny of the majority.
Just because ten white men hung a black man, it does not make it right because he was out voted. In Germany 1933 the National socialist party was elected with 43.9% of the vote, the people spoke and the Nazi’s were legitimate rulers, yet it does not make it right.
As Christians, we have to fight the temptations of convenience and popularity; we have to follow the truth of what we hold given clearly to us in Scripture.
We are in a minority, we do live in a post Christian nation; we are at a time where these words of our Lord (Matthew 7:13-14) speak to us with greater relevance.
We must continue like Pilgrim on the narrow path, in obedience to our Lord’s teaching as this leads to Life!
We must not follow the masses down the broad road, however easier and pleasing it may look to us, as this leads to destruction.
Our Lord says in Matthew 7: 21 that not everyone who says to me “Lord Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do His Fathers will”.
You may tell people you are a Christian, you may proclaim the name of Jesus, but is your heart with Him? Are you living in obedience? Do you long to hear His Word preached and to be with His people at church? Or are other things you desire getting in the way?
He says to you “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.
Join me today in coming to Jesus and asking Him for forgiveness for all those times you have switched on the TV instead of reading your Bible, or scrolled through Facebook instead of Praying, or skipped church to have a lazy morning.
The Narrow Gate is harder to get through; it might mean sacrificing the things we like to do. But the rewards are worth it.
I plead with you not to follow the masses for convenience, but follow Jesus for Life!
As Christians we must be a witness to His truth, we must Keep Sunday’s Special and show the world that God is more important than the conveniences and choices followed by the masses.