“And of some have compassion, making a difference” (Jude 22)
I see a huge problem in “church” today. I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’m not the first and I certainly will not be the last. I’m not an expert. I don’t know everything. It's not every church but I am starting to see this attitude pop up more.
Church is not the name on the sign in front.
Church is not the building in which people gather.
Church is not our position in the church, our favorite seat, the music, or the decorations.
The work of Jesus Christ in the world is in the hands of those who belong to Him. In that sense, He has no hands but our hands, no feet but our feet.
Did you ever notice in the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John perspectives on Jesus He never asked a person which church they go to? He didn’t ask about their sins, their past, or their position in the church?
My question is, “Why do we?”
Mark 1:32-34 is an example of this. It’s the Sabbath. Jesus had gone to church. After church He went to Peter and Andrew’s house for lunch. Peter’s mother-in-law was sick. Jesus healed her. Word got out and when the Sabbath ended at sundown, People were lined up at the door. They were lined up to see Jesus. TO SEE JESUS.
There were no doubt all kinds of people were in this crowd. Fishermen, carpenters, farmers and shepherds, and craftsmen and likely as in other crowds who came to see Jesus there were Roman soldiers, domestic servants and masters with slaves, religious leaders from the temples, and there were probably prostitutes, and thieves and pick pockets, and beggars, and there were the diseased, the sick and dying. People of all ages, race, color, national origin. People of all walks of life. The wealthy, the working class, the poor, the least of the least. It may have looked like Best Buy or Walmart the night before Black Friday!
In the end there were really only two groups.
There are the “Bringers” who brought people with a sense of urgency. It MUST be done. We MUST see Jesus. And the bringers were willing to lay down whatever they were doing to bring someone to Jesus.
Then there are the “Watchers.” They are curious enough to get up and check out what is going on but yet they are distant enough to not get involved.
God commands us to go to the world to make the watchers into bringers. The problem is that sometimes between the front door of the church and the pulpit of the church where the word of God is preached, the “Watchers” are judged. The “Bringers” bring and invite people, but those who are watching or searching feel the pressure of other “watchers” when they come into the church. The person is labeled as soon as they come in the door.
I’m not saying this is every church but let’s be real. We do it. And it needs to stop. Writers and experts try to figure out why a church is not growing or not prospering. Let’s get back to the example of Jesus. Jesus only knew the people came to Him or He went to the people. He never assigned a label. He only knew the love of His Father, the Word of His Father, and the Power of His Father. That’s what He shared.
We are not called to sit and do nothing. We are ALL called to be an active part in God’s church. God has gifted EVERY ONE of His children with a gift that is to be used in the operation of His church.
In order for us to all work together in God’s church we must all have the proper attitude of humility, we must have the proper relationship in unity and we must all properly exercise the gifts we have been blessed with.
That day at Peter and Andrew’s house, many in the crowd took Jesus back to their homes. The bringers took home the blessing of having brought someone to Jesus. They took home the joy of knowing they had helped make a difference and be part of the healing and changing of someone’s life.
A seed was planted in the eyes of the watchers. They saw the hospitality. They saw the healing. They saw the love and forgiveness, and the mercy and the grace. That made them think about what was missing in their own life.
Are you going to be a “labeler?” How long will you be able to stay a “watcher?” Or are you willing to take a step of faith and make a difference in someone’s life? Are you willing to tell someone how Jesus will make a difference in their life? My challenge is for all of us to get up and do something instead of waiting for someone else to do it.