While growing up many of the top programs on TV were Westerns. Shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wanted Dead or Alive, Maverick, and Have Gun Will Travel filled the air waves. But I think the all-time favorite for most viewers, including myself, was the original masked crusader, The Lone Ranger. Along with his trusted friend Tonto, his beautiful snow-white horse, Silver, and his trademark silver bullets, there wasn’t a bad guy that ever stood a chance. His amazing physical abilities, his heart of compassion, masterful cunning and clever disguises made The Lone Ranger America’s first TV super-hero. Every boy (and even some girls) wanted to be just like The Lone Ranger.
Today we still have many lone rangers, but they are not western heroes. They are committed followers of Jesus Christ, and even though they may attend a church regularly, when it comes to their Christian life, they are on there own. Believers may have church “friends” and acquaintances, but when it comes to living in daily Biblical fellowship with others in the Church, it is virtually non-existent. We have forgotten God has placed us into the Body of Christ. “So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5).
I remember back during the days of the old westerns how people commented that you never talk about politics or religion. I’m not sure when that kind of mindset started, but I am sure it has done much to bring about the lone ranger epidemic in the Church today. Talking about the Bible or anything related to it, apart from the typical “religious” setting, will quickly impart a blank stare. Give it a try sometime. At best you may end up having a short conversation. Serious talk about the things of God always seems to be a side-note. It is not the kind of thing most people really want to get into, even many “believers”. You just don’t talk about it. We’ve been tricked into believing it’s a personal thing and by default we’ve become lone rangers.
It is vitally important for Christians to understand who they are. We are the Body of Jesus Christ and all believers are to be connected. You may attend a specific church, but that doesn’t mean you are in true biblical fellowship according to the New Testament. Your identity with the Church should be seen in your commitment to the whole Church, not just to a subset of Christians from a particular institution of choice. “God has put the body together…so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other” (1 Cor. 12:24-25). Remember, you are commanded to “love one another” (John 13:34), not only the “one anothers” that attend a certain group.
I am reminded of the illustration of burning coals. Grouped together the heat and flame the coals generate grows and intensifies. Remove one coal and set it aside. After a short time the individual coal will burn out. If you place another coal in the midst of the others it will quickly catch fire and help keep the others burning. That is what the Church needs today. All the “coals” burning together.
God doesn’t want any lone rangers out there. That’s why He created the Church. You need others and they need you! Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. And don’t forget, anyone who is a Christian should be treated as our brother or sister in Christ. Take the time to find others who are believers and begin to fellowship with them often! Make an investment in their lives. After all, if they in fact are true believers in Christ, you will be spending all eternity with them for there are no lone rangers in heaven. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).