Viewpoint: People are more than numbers

Rae Jefferson

Rae Jefferson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

I am a Christian on Baylor’s campus – no surprise there. It is safe to say that a large percentage of the school’s students, faculty and staff identify with or were at some point exposed to Christian ideals. I have heard stories of students who were ignorant of the university’s Baptist roots until they attended classes for the first time. How that happened I will never understand, considering things like mandatory Chapel attendance and Baylor’s carefully crafted mission statement, which includes the word Christian.

Regardless, these kinds of stories remind me of the fact that I should take measures to be considerate of members of the Baylor community who have no knowledge of Christ, have no desire to convert, or who unknowingly walked into the Venus flytrap of nonbelievers.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19-20

The concluding verses of Matthew 28 are known as the Great Commission in Christian circles, and serves as a foundation for evangelical Christianity. Oftentimes, the church’s drive to bring new members into the body of Christ is rooted in this commandment given by Jesus to share the gospel with as many people as possible.

Although this is an awesome endeavor, it can easily become another item on the Christian checklist that creates a deficit between spiritual actions and underlying motivations. Christians can feel pressure, whether realized or not, to fulfill perceived requirements of Christianity, such as consistently attending church, joining small groups and Bible studies or evangelizing. Although each of these things is innately good and beneficial, they can be rendered ineffective when done simply because Christians ought to do those things, rather than because they actually have a desire to do them.

As a majority on campus, Christians, and especially as students, can be vulnerable to this idea of vain spiritual acts, and it often leads to collateral damage. The temptation to target unbelieving peers and try to convince them of the goodness of Jesus is very real. I have witnessed it firsthand, and have even experienced the desire to sway others myself. Of course it has always been under the guise of love, but if our motivation is not simply to glorify the Lord and genuinely share his heart, we are being manipulative and selfish. It is unloving to use others as pawns in our silly game of “church.”

During his time on the earth, Jesus was after the hearts of men, not because he needed to feel like an effective believer, but because he loved them and knew the hope he had for them was greater than anything else. Christians should also be after the hearts of men, and not simply a tally mark on a checklist or a pat on the back for doing spiritual works. Make disciples, not flytrap food.

Rae Jefferson is a junior journalism major from Houston. She is the A&E editor for the Lariat.