We’ve all heard it. There is a generic language we here in most places – home, Walmart, work, and on the ball field. Then there’s “Christianese”. It’s a special language only known to those in church culture. It varies from church to church, but much of it is the same across the board.
I asked my Twitter audience for thoughts on the subject, and you will be ready about my top picks from that as I continue the series. While we joke about the language of the churched, I will strive to explain these words and sayings that seem to make no sense (especially to those who are not so familiar with the church).
I remember hearing missionaries speak in churches about having a “burden for the lost”. It sounded horrible. Who wants a burden, right? We typically think of a burden as a heavy load or something oppressive. Why would pastors and missionaries go on and on about having a burden?
A definition that is often unconsidered is “duty or responsibility”. When pastors or missionaries speak of having a burden for the lost, they speak of the responsibility they have from God to share the gospel. While that can seem oppressive (or any other burden/responsibility for that matter), it also motivates us. I, to a fault, am duty-driven. I do things because they have to be done. It took me several years to move from duty to delight in Christian service, so being able to minister from joy rather than drudgery is liberating.
So, the next time you hear someone in church talk about having a burden for something that is a command from God, I hope you’ll understand it a little more.