Truth Time

Truth Time

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

It is interesting to me that people often have nothing to do with a church of any kind until they hit a bump in the road of life and need help. Then a church is often one of the first places they contact for that help.
Many of the people that I talk with regarding benevolence have no church. Or if they do, they have not been active, and their church barely knows who they are. Something happens in their life…some kind of financial or health reversal or a family emergency…and now they can’t pay the electric bill, the rent, or some other necessary bill. They then turn to churches to provide the help.
I’ve often wondered how things might have worked out differently for them had they been actively involved in a church family over the years and had been connected to people who genuinely cared about them and their situation. I’ve wondered how differently their feelings of loneliness, discouragement, and hopelessness would be if they would have an active church family that they could lean on in troubled times.
People would pray for and with them. Others would counsel, mentor, and befriend them. The church would provide financial help, professional counseling, and perhaps even job/career assistance. Perhaps someone would volunteer to take them to the doctor or be with them during a medical procedure. Someone would call and look out for their welfare. And they would be loved and accepted for who they are…just like us, a child of God who is in need of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
I often ask if they are people of faith and if they have a church family. Most say they are of faith, and most will also admit to not having a church family…or at least a family that they have been an active part of for the past while. I sometimes tell them that they really need the friendship and familial support that comes from being part of a church family. And usually, the conversation doesn’t go any farther than that. Why, I don’t know.
I don’t know if they are more concerned about the immediate issues of survival, or perhaps they have had a bad blood family relationship and can’t relate to families truly loving and serving one another. Or maybe there is something else involved in that lack of family contact that I’m not aware of.
I’ve heard many people say that they are Jesus followers, but don’t want to be part of an organized church. And as long as one can remain independent and not need the support and service of a loving family such as what the church is supposed to be, everything seems to rock along OK in a person’s life. But let one bump…one hiccup…one barrier loom, and suddenly, that person is alone. He is by himself in a world that is much bigger and much meaner than he ever thought or knew. As Abraham Lincoln said (and taking out of context), “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here…” The world will little care or be concerned with someone’s inability to obtain health care, pay a utility bill, or with whether they are living on the street or with a roof over them. But the church…the church should care and be concerned for its family members primarily, and others secondarily as well. The church is where God’s love and compassion are brought to the reality of action…mentoring, providing, challenging, loving, serving. It is the church that puts legs on God’s provisions for His children. It is the church that makes the love of God real and tangible, and gives meaning to the truth of “God is love.” It is the church that puts God’s love into action.
I often get the feeling that we ask God to intervene in a situation, then sit back and wait for Him to do something about what we prayed about in some way, as if we expect God to wave a magic wand and “BOOM!” everything is taken care of. No, God doesn’t tell us to sit back and wait for Him to somehow pay an electric bill or relieve suffering. He tells us instead to offer that cup of cold water, to go the second mile, to be the servant of all. He tells us that we are His chosen vessels, His workmanship. He tells us that we were created to do good works…those good works that God Himself has prepared for us…and that this is to be our way of life. (Ephesians 2:10) “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.”
OK, the question. What is your “way of life?” Is it to do good works as God’s workmanship? Or is it to serve yourself? Is it to relieve the suffering of others, or to assure your own comfort? Is it to bear another’s burden, or is it to relieve yourself of yours?
Truth time.

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