I’ve never been a fan of causes. Even as a non-Christian I was suspicious of the amount of devotion causes command. No matter how worthy the cause, I’ve never considered one worth my life.
As a non-Christian, I didn’t know why I felt suspicious of causes. I thought it was because my mind was not for rent (to borrow from Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”). In reality, I was a worshiper waiting for something worthy of worship. This is what we all are.
Then I met Jesus. From the first I knew He was worth my devotion and life. In fact, I knew I was *designed* to adore Him and nothing else. I began to understand why I felt guarded about causes: they were misdirections of worship.
Being a Christian doesn’t make one immune to the allure of causes. In fact, being a Christian can make it worse because you’re not just a person pursuing a cause. You’re a crusader fighting a holy war.
For some, God is a means to a virtuous end. The Bible just provides proof texts for environmentalism, pro-life activism, civil rights, or whatever. But God is no means to an end. He is the beginning and the end (Rev. 22:13).
Don’t get me wrong. I think we should be passionately involved with God and the world, ministering to need as we find it. But if Jesus said hate my parents, my wife, my children, and even my self to be His disciple, I can imagine Him telling me to hate a march on the capitol or the anti-vaccine bandwagon.
God can genuinely move people to effect change in the world. One person’s cause is another’s act of worship. One is moved by livid appetites; the other by living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1-2).
So how do we tell the difference? How do we know if we’re a Christian or a crusader? Consider the woman who broke open an alabaster jar so she could pour expensive perfume on Jesus’s head. Some of the disciples grumbled: instead of wasting the perfume on Jesus, it could’ve been sold and the money given to the poor (Mark 14:3-5).
The disciples’ devotion to the poor was more than to Jesus. They were offended because Jesus–not their cause–was worshiped. If it bugs you when people devote more to Jesus than the activism you espouse, your treasure is on earth. And wherever your treasure is your heart is also (Matt. 6:21).