There’s this TV commercial that keeps popping up. I don’t remember for sure, but I think it’s a car advertisement. The thing about it that actually sticks with me is a character who’s impressed by the speedy pickup of the auto. He marvels at it and says, “I think I left my soul back there!”
Being a guy who’s been in the soul business for a long time, that line always catches my ear. Each time I hear it, I find myself swept into this weird train of thought. What’s it like if your soul gets left behind?
I’m not sure how to answer that. What I am sure of, however, is that we seem to be in a time when the church in general is getting that feeling. We’re empty, and our soul is somewhere else.
Life seems to be traveling at an unbelievable breakneck speed. In order to remain relevant, we do our best to keep up. There are days we’re overcome with the feeling that our soul has literally been left behind.
“It’s easy to get sick and tired.”
Because of that, I often find myself needing to hear someone (anyone) say it’s okay (or, at least, that it’s going to be okay). It’s easy to get tired and give up (or give in). Maybe it’s more correctly stated as, “It’s easy to get sick and tired. Going through difficult times has always caused us to use that old saying. Getting sick and tired has become commonplace these days.
Right now, the church is going through an amazingly difficult time. I hear Christians all around me making statements like, “None of what I used to do works anymore.” They’re right in saying those things. We live in a post-Christian world where we’re just another option (and not a very appealing one at that). I remember a time when simply being a pastor carried with it at least a modicum of respect. Those days are long gone (which actually might be a good thing).
“Many of us haven’t realized that yet.”
The point of all this is we’ve entered into a new era. It’s a new frontier (to employ an overused term). In a sense, we’ve reverted to a time (much like the time of the apostles) where we’re essentially starting all over again. The real problem is that many of us haven’t realized that yet. We’re trying to do the same old things and expecting them to produce results. (Kind of reminds you of the old definition of insanity, doesn’t it?)
Our first step appears to be for us to realize we’ve become irrelevant relics of a bygone era. The second is to realize we don’t have to remain so. The third is to understand that we are pioneers looking for relevance once again. This is such a daunting task, it would be easy to give up and give in—sick and tired of the way things are.
To you I would say, “Never give up.” You are God’s remnant! Your soul hasn’t been left behind. It just feels like it sometimes.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]