Subject: The Question That Changed My Life!
A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of
ministry. I searched for ways to challenge my students to fall more in
love with Jesus. I came across a quote. It is a short version of the
history of Christianity, and it goes like this:
Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece
and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution;
it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became
I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last
line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.”
After a few moments Martha, raised her hand. “Yes, Martha.” She asked
such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a
body?” The only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued,
“But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”
The room went dead silent. We were stunned.
Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her
question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business,
isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question.
The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily
populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t
even know Him; and I mean really know Him.
… I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know
God–much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how
we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He
would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and
take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we
don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We
have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His
anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are
called to be the Bride of Christ–that’s pretty intimate stuff. We are
supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don’t even know?
And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love
them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?
I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the
question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I
realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what
she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as
long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God
stopped paying me?”
For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my
motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God?
What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did
another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I
believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not
whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my
heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a
loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a
bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It
took several months to work through these questions. Even now I wonder
if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and
behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry
that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is
something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything
else to be a true lover of God.
So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There
are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that
matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places.
Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute
for unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is
no palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew
7:21-23). We must choose.
-Dr. David Ryser
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall
enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my
Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord,
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast
out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I
profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work