I smile when I hear people say, “And that’s what it’s all about!”
A man catches a foul ball at a baseball game and gives it to a child.
A woman finds a $20 bill and returns it to the one who dropped it.
A couple sits on their front porch drinking coffee as the sun rises and the birds sing.
All of these situations could elicit the response of, “That’s what it is all about!”
Good, meaningful experiences that seem to sum up the best of life are often referred to as “what it is all about.”
We may also hear this after a meaningful worship experience, a successful ministry project, or a delightful gathering of believers in fellowship.
When I hear believers use this well-worn phrase to describe an experience they have had, it gets my attention. Often “that” (whatever it is) is not “what it’s all about,” or at least shouldn’t be.
Can we say what we are doing is really what
“it is ALL about”?
Can we say what we are doing is really what “it is ALL about”?
Some churches take pride in their many programs and their full calendar. Could it be said that everything our churches do is what it is all about?
We thoughtlessly throw this phrase about describing something our church has done when in truth, we may as well be singing the “Hokey Pokey”!
While a rousing time of worship of any style of music and a sacrificial activity in the name of Christ may be wonderful, meaningful, and satisfying, we should pause before we say the event or activity encompasses what following Christ is all about.
Worship is an essential priority for Christ-followers. It is also clear that sacrificially serving others in the name of our Lord is at the heart of following Christ. So, I am not at all diminishing the beauty and importance of these experiences. But the fact is that one could experience these activities without them being “all about” Jesus.
Christ warned of equating religious activity with proof of genuine belief.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers (Mt 7:21–23)!
In the Old Testament, the Lord was repulsed by religious activity and attempts to worship that neglected genuine care for others (Is. 58:1-10). Contrary to what they thought, their superficial acts of worship were not what it was all about.
I’ve seen church members who were ready to go to war over their favorite ministry or budget line item as though it was what following Christ was all about. But often the ministry being defended contributed little to the glory of Christ and making disciples.
So, what IS it all about? Our worship, ministry, and fellowship; what are they really “all about”? Could it be said that the Great Commandments (Mk. 12:30-31) and Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20) are what your church is all about?
You will have to take an honest look at your situation and answer that for yourself.
We may do many things in His name, yet offend Him in the process if, in reality, it is all about us!
So, how can we ensure that what we do and why we do it is all about Jesus? Here are some simple questions to ask:
Does it truly please the Lord?
Does Scripture show that this is something in which He delights?
Does the event or activity glorify Christ? If so, how?
Does this result in others choosing to follow Christ?
Does our work reflect the power of the Spirit or simply human ingenuity?
Does it make Jesus famous or us?
If we say we are all about worshipping Christ, then we will worship in a way that results in serving (Ro. 12:1). If we say a ministry project is to help people see the love of Christ, then people will know the work was done because of Him (Acts 3:11-12).
The movie, "Chariots of Fire," has Olympic runner, Eric Liddell, saying, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.” Mohler points out, "What Liddell did say, and more than once, was that God made him for China."1
Liddell "considered athletics as an addendum to his life rather than his sole reason for living it."2
For Eric, it wasn't all about himself. It wasn't all about the Olympics. He "considered athletics as an addendum to his life rather than his sole reason for living it." To Eric, his life was all about Jesus. Ultimately, it cost him his life.
Jesus expects the lives of those who follow Him to be all about Him.
Then [Jesus] said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self (Lk. 9:23-25)?
When it comes to our ministries and when it comes to our lives, Jesus should be Who it is all about.
1 Albert Mohler, "'God Made Me for China'—Eric Liddell Beyond Olympic Glory," July 25, 2017, https://albertmohler.com/2017/07/25/god-made-china-eric-liddell-beyond-olympic-glory.
2 Hamilton, Duncan. For the Glory (p. 10). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.