Our lives are so busy. It doesn’t take long for our schedules to fill up with work, school, and recreation! And this is usually the time of year where many of us are planning and prioritizing activities for our families. This is such an important time to remember to be mindful of God’s will and calling in our lives! Have we taken time to pray about it? Have we taken time to evaluate how wisely we are spending our precious hours? Are we selfish and overly protective of our time? Or do we leave room to be generous with our time in service to God’s Kingdom work? If someone were to take a look at our weekly agendas, what conclusions would they draw based on how we allocate our time?
I find that reflecting on how I use my time quickly reveals potential “idols” in my life. Perhaps it’s pleasure– seeking to fill my time only with selfish pleasure and entertainment. Making sure I’m content and comfortable and happy as much as possible.
Perhaps it’s greed– seeking to work more so that I can have more money or buy more things (or NEEDING to work more because I’ve already indebted myself to my purchases). Perhaps it’s family– being so protective and so concerned with my family that they become more important to me than God himself.
Perhaps it’s pride– seeking accolades and accomplishments that bolster my reputation and garner respect and praise from those around me.
At some point or another, I have been guilty of idolizing ALL of those things. Each of them has taken a turn at the top of my priority list and God has been pushed to the back of the line. He has been an afterthought, a leftover, at many points in my life, rather than being my #1, my mentor, and my confidante through it all.
During these times when an idol takes God’s place in our lives, it becomes so easy to become selfish and entitled. We begin to see people as a means (or hinderance) to our happiness, rather than beloved children of God. We begin to have a “what’s in it for me?” attitude, rather than a “what has God enabled me to give?” attitude.
This is why God gave us the church. Or more accurately, why He MADE US the church. People often mistakenly think that the primary purpose of the church is to “feed” them. To make them feel good and to dole out spoonfuls of “Spirit Smarts” to them. To inspire them. The reality is that the primary purpose of the church is to equip the saints to serve and declare the Gospel to the outside world. We don’t attend church, we ARE the church. We each have a role to play. A place to serve. People to love. Good News to declare.
When we realize we are the church, it completely changes our perspective on the church and our role in it. Suddenly, we realize that we are impoverishing ourselves and others by not attending regularly, because God has gifted us each uniquely so that we can contribute to the Kingdom Work within our community and beyond. Giving and growing in our gifts requires real community! Suddenly we realize that we aren’t meant to take a passive “consumer” role– we are meant to equip and be equipped! To ask questions and get involved in helping others! Suddenly we realize that when we criticize “the church” for falling short, we are part of that criticism and we should be doing our part strengthen those weak areas, rather than just pointing fingers.
We are the church. At the end of the day, if we aren’t selflessly trying to serve and love others in the name of Christ Jesus, we aren’t understanding what “church” means. We take an active role to serve one another and worship God on Sunday mornings, so that we can accurately “be the church” to those around us the rest of the week.
1) Am I actively seeking God and aiming to know Him better or am I passively waiting for “inspiration”?
2) Do I actively attend and serve as part of the church, or do I expect others to do it? (i.e. Sunday School teachers, worship leaders, greeters/ushers, board leaders, communion prep, building maintenance, etc etc)
3) Am I actively and intentionally LOVING those around me with an equal measure of GRACE & TRUTH, or do I tend to neglect one or both as I interact with others?
4) Do I look for ways to demonstrate/share the Gospel with those around me? If not, why? What do I need to do so?