Summary: Being too comfortable can lock us into our ways. We hide behind the walls all to often. But there are others ways of being visable.
What’s in Your Job description?
There was once a farmer that frequently described his Christian faith by saying, “Well, I’m not making much progress, but I am well established!”
One spring he was hauling some logs on a trailer. It has been especially wet that week and the wheels of the trailer and tractor sank all the way down to the axles in mud. He was totally stuck in deep thick mud.
He has been working with all his physical might to get the load moving again. He had even tried just to get the tractor free but, nothing he had tried had made any difference. He was covered head to toe in mud when His pastor was passing by and stopped.
After a brief discussion about the situation, the Pastor that had always been uncomfortable about the farmer’s warn out testimony about his faith said, “Well brother, I see that you are not making much progress, but you must be content; because, you are well established!”
We all get pretty comfortable being in a church that is well established. It is easy to maintain the things we are comfortable with. We have just enough resources to keep the building comfortable and well maintained. There are just enough people that make the plans, organize the events and fill out all the paperwork.
It is easy to be well established and not be going any place.
Last week part of the worship service was interrupted. It was the part that I tend to work the hardest on each week.
However, I have no grounds to complain. Those in attendance were very patient as My optimism kept me trying to make progress. But no matter how hard I tried my load quickly sank into the mud.
However, we were not so well established and content that we all stayed outside in spite of the situation. We moved on to the celebration and the afternoon of great music. We did not get stuck and unable to move. We just modified our direction.
I wish I could say that was a sign of a healthy congregation. However, I am afraid that it was really just proof that we as a church had since enough to come out of the rain. I am afraid that the discomfort that we endured only served to feed the idea that we never should have been out there in the first place.
I have a small feeling that the unfortunate path of the light rain might dampen the spirit and reason that we were meeting out in the park.
The idea was to experience what being a church without walls is like.
To experience the beauty of God’s cathedral and to listen to the natural music created by bird soloist and animal musicians. Add to that the occasional Train crescendo and it can be a powerful experience.
-- More importantly the reason we met outside last Sunday was to be seen in public as God’s little church that is Big on Jesus. To be willing to be seen worshiping in public, open to scrutiny and judgment by anyone that passed by on the road was a simple statement of faith and a nonverbal statement about our celebration of God and the Good news of Jesus Christ.
It seems to me that a church that is hidden from passersby is a church that is forgotten and has no influence or impact on outsiders, on the community.
However, meeting in the open, is not the only way that a church is visible.
Today we are meeting in the normal place, back in our comfort zone. As a church we are hidden except for the cars in the parking lot.
That is visible, and that is the normal outward statement about our faith that we portray from week to week.
Is that how this church is called to share the Message that God sent via Jesus Christ?
I have heard many people say that they come to church to be fed. I will grant that that is in a loosely translated way what Sunday School, Bible study and worship are about.
However, the bible tells us that there is more to it than that. The church is less of a service station and more of a training station.
When we become Christians we accept a job in the Body of Christ. We start our education program to allow us to work for God.
According to scripture we accept a role in the priesthood of all believers.
In the temple of Jesus’ day, there were all kinds of jobs in the temple that kept it running. There were the worship leaders and musicians in the big services. There were priest that served in individual one on one ministry offering sacrifices. There were priest that maintained the wood piles and others that cleaned and took out the trash.