Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 28, 2013

As another Christmas season comes and goes, it is more evident than ever that the world in which we live is changing at an ever-quickening pace.
As a kid, you listened halfheartedly to your elders as they told you to savor the moment you were in because time would pass you by…but you probably never really heard them.
Like me, you were probably too busy wishing you could just be older, have your own car or head off to college. As I sit on the verge of graduating college, the changing America I have seen the past 21 years breaks my heart.
Shooting after shooting, politicians more concerned about fighting one another than serving their constituents, Hollywood icons abandoning standards of morality —the list could go on and on.
Amidst all these changes, what breaks my heart more than anything listed above is the church’s neglect to act like the church.
We sit idle and complacent, content to watch from a distance. Though I’m not saying we need to form some sort of physical militia, what I am saying is that we are called to be the salt and light of the world. And the one thing the world needs more than anything else is some preserving power and direction.
It also wouldn’t hurt to live out the commandment Jesus gave us in Matthew chapter 22 to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and display a Godly example of what true love looks like.
People always talk about the “greatest gift” they received at Christmas time, but unfortunately the splendor of earthly gifts fades away as the New Year passes and winter again turns to spring.
But I’m here to tell you that the church can give a gift that will stand the test of time.
The best gift the church can give to the world is to embrace its role as the body of Christ and shine a light on the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ.
John 3:16 says it so beautifully and simply: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
What present can compare to the gift of salvation and eternal life? If we believe the Bible to be true, then we are “sent” people, called to go and spread the message of John 3:16 to the entire world.
If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, according to 2 Corinthians 5:19, we are called to be ambassadors for Christ.
The duty of an ambassador is to represent someone or something, and in this case we the church are called to represent Christ, the King of Kings.
This is not an optional role; you are an ambassador whether you want to be or not. The gifts of evangelizing and witnessing are not listed as fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 — they are duties that fall to every single one of us.
Sadly in my opinion, we have let the King down as his ambassadors.
Don’t mistake my thoughts as pessimistic. Rather, I see a chance worth fighting for, a great opportunity.
Just as this time of year should be the time where hope shines bright for all to see, the church should pro actively be pointing towards that hope, not sitting around content with the status quo, too scared to actually try and make a difference.
I for one am tired of the church being complacent, content to stand by and do nothing. I’m ready to see Christians rise up and live out the hope we profess to have.
In a day like none other, Satan’s biggest tool is complacency. We need to take a stand.
The greatest gift that the church can give to the world is to actually be the church — to focus the world’s gaze once again on the true reason for the hope, joy, and love of this season.
The question is, will you join me in doing something about it?

Dylan Eagle, a senior at Liberty University, is a graduate of Carson High School in China Grove.