Summary: sometimes things need to be removed for us to truly see the Lord
Friendship Baptist Church
Are We Seeing the Lord?
It’s a blessing when things go right in our lives. It’s a blessing when everything is running on all cylinders and everything you touch seems to turn into gold. When the husband’s faithful and the wife is grateful; when the children all mind and everything is fine, that’s truly a blessing.
And not only that, but when people who are around you, people you associate with, the people you work and go to church with, when they can say the same thing you can say, “Blessed be the name of our God,” that’s truly a blessing. It seems as if no one has a care in the world. Everyone’s happy, healthy, and wise.
And when people are happy, usually this becomes contagious and the whole country seems to be happy. Everybody wants to join in the party and no one wants to be left behind. So people have confidence in the economy and the Dow breaks records. Unemployment is at an all time low. Former poor cities and counties in America are now feeling the economic boom and are lifting themselves out of poverty. More millionaires are being made, job benefits are getting better, vacations are becoming plusher, and even a little negative like the rising gas prices, won’t dampen our spirits because we got money in our pockets and time on our hands.
And what we say is that we are truly blessed. Everybody’s just doing their own thing, going their own way, singing their own song, and minding their own business. Everybody’s in the routine now, don’t fix what’s not broken. Just let the good times roll, because we are all blessed.
However, the problem with being blessed (and we are), is that we are supposed to be a blessing to someone else. Once we are born again, we are now called to serve; in fact we are saved to serve. And for many of us this becomes hard because we start to take being blessed for granted.
For you see, in order to keep our blessing, we turn a blinded eye towards serving others. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in holding on to our blessing, that we become trapped by the trappings we so desire.
When the times are good and sweet sometimes we don’t see what we should see because contrary to popular belief, a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats. We don’t see that some of the people are left out of the prosperity party. When we are drunk off the wine of the “best economic times since WWII”, we don’t see that many people who work hard everyday don’t have a livable wage.
We don’t see the blighted neighborhoods, the drug infested corners, the inadequate schools, the skills lacking labor force, the uninsured worker, the homeless man, the abused woman, or the starving children. And we are so busy living it up and having a good time, that we don’t even recognize that everybody at the party looks like us, acts like us, and thinks like us. We’re so busy going through the routine, so busy being busy, that we don’t recognize that in the process we miss God; and dare I even say it, we don’t even see God.
But not only is it the rest of the community not seeing God, but we preachers can be guilty of that too. We too can get into a routine of service that doesn’t lead to a true encounter with the Lord. We too can become monotone and mundane in our preaching and teaching. We too can become blind to the visions and dreams that God wants us to see to move God’s people. We too can get just as comfortable as the next person in our positions and conditions.
So comfortable in fact that our leadership abilities can get lost in a haze of haughty pride and arrogance. (When security guards are called to a church on a Sunday morning and that same church winds up in court where a secular judge has to tell them who can speak and who’s a member of their church, I have to ask, “are we seeing the Lord?”)
When a group of male church leaders get together and take biblical texts, out of context, for a pretext, of what they want to do next, who denies the Holy Spirit’s working for certain church roles to more than half of the population, I have to ask, “are we seeing the Lord?” We too can get wrapped up in the good times shared by all and completely miss and not see the Lord.
When church leaders lose their prophetic voices in the community, to stand up for issues affecting their communities and congregations because they are afraid of losing promise, praise, and prestige, I have to ask, “are we seeing the Lord?” When we are limited and stifled by our own myopic vision, when we can see other folks problems, but not our own, I have to ask, “are we seeing the Lord?”