Last post, I observed that the church is in something of a catch-22. On the one hand, every time we mess things up, sin, or make mistakes there are many good reasons to be very public about this. On the other hand, when we do things right, it can be hard to be as public about this. There are a variety of reasons for this. We don’t want to look like we’re just doing it to be noticed, for one. It’s human nature to notice when things aren’t going right, for another.
Seriously, have you ever contemplated the number of airplanes that don’t land in a fiery pit of death and destruction every day? Have you ever read a newspaper article about the cars that reached their destination and failed to cause an 87 cause pile up? How often do you hear stories about the thousands of politicians, generals, etc. who are playing by the rules and doing what they are supposed to be doing? The most literal translation of the word “Gospel” is Good News. Yes, I know that we’re supposed to be sharing Jesus good news, most specifically. But it’s important here, that at the very root of our faith, is the command to share good news.
A perhaps related issue with the inherent challenges of a church getting good press: For lots of good reasons, we trust an outsider. If I said “Such-and-such church is …” You’d take me seriously if you thought I was an unbiased observer. If you felt like I had an agenda, like I had an axe to grind, it would be quite understandable to take what I say with a grain of salt.
However, this creates a dilemna. The dilemna is this: if somebody loves a church, they are likely to want to get involved with that church. Unless they are anti-social or a hypocrite (or both) they will want to get on board with it. In the act of getting on board with a church, we lose some of our credibility in reporting how awesome it is.
More specifically: I say “Fellowship Church is awesome.”
It’d be natural to say “Well, of course you’re going to say that. You’re involved with the church. You want everybody to think it’s awesome.”
That’s one explanation. But what if the causal arrow operated differently? It’s equally likely that Fellowship Church is awesome quite independently of me, quite before me. (Actually, it’s much more likely.) I am attracted to this awesomeness and seek to serve. I also want to report this awesomeness I see…
At any rate, this is an absurdly long winded introduction for a supporting anecdote that’s pretty straight foreward and simple. I think this is a pretty good demonstration of why I love my church, though.
The other day we had this little drama. A borderline crisis, almost. (Things are pretty much o.k. now, thanks for asking.)
Nobody was around. It was the middle of the afternoon. I called a slew of people and left a message that was some variation on “Hey, it’s me. I have a big favor to ask.”
It’s such an amazing blessing to have a list– a healthy sized list– of people I can call in a jam.
But it gets better.
Because these people called back. Pretty much right away. The calls came back quicker, I think, than if I’d left out the “I have a big favor to ask part.”
It is so very precious to be part of a community where people are eager to help each other.
As awesome as it was to simply have a list of people I could try to call, it was twice as awesome that there were so many people who could help us, who would help us.
It was actually a little convicting. Because there are so many people outside of our immediate circle so desperate for our help, so desperate to see Christ’s love. Many of my fellow church members do an equally amazing job of taking care of people outside of their social circle.
I haven’t done as good a job with this. I hope that all the amazing people on that list know that I would do everything I could for them, as they did for me. But Jesus calls me to do everything I can even for people who can’t or won’t reciprocate. My hope is that I can take this feeling of blessedness and use it to motivate me to do a better job of reaching out, into the world.
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