An elderly lady stopped by the church recently and was met by one of our staff. It seems she was checking out the church. Church shopping, if you will.
Her story is that she was a member of the church up the road 26 years ago, but they "ran the preacher off", so she left. I've been around longer than that, so her slant on that story is a bit, shall I say, off. But, after a while she came back...for a while, until someone said something that "hurt my feelings".
So, she stopped by to find out if this was a church where the preacher "preaches the Word".
Well, guess what? The preachers in that church for the past quarter century that I've known them have always "preached the Word". But, according to her, the reason she has found herself shopping is not due to a preacher's apostasy.
Our staff member explained a couple things to her about our church that she thought might also be offensive to the dear sister in some way. "Our music is not what you're used to...it's very contemporary". But she insisted the music didn't matter. (I'm smiling at that one.) So, just maybe she'll come check us out. We'll welcome her. But my guess is even if she stayed, she wouldn't stay long.
She's looking for perfection.
And it's not here.
Most church shopping is unnecessary. In fact, it's often sinful. That is unless you have moved to a new geographical location and worshiping with your "home" church has become impossible due to mileage.
There's too much in the words of Jesus and the writings of the Apostles that communicate Christian virtues that are given by God's grace to us that should allow us to overcome and deal with hurt feelings. Virtues like forgiving one another as Christ as forgiven us. And having the same attitude of humility displayed for us by our Savior. We like to use the phrase around here that "it's not about me" when selfishness starts to rise to the top.
I don't think she would want to hear me say to her the first time she had a complaint about something we do (unless it is unbiblical, and then she would have to stand in line), "Well, it's not about you, is it?". That either sends them to Jesus in repentance or sends them down the road, looking for the ultimate preacher and church.
God put us in fellowship with other imperfect saints, knowing we will sometimes rub each other the wrong way so that we can learn those virtues and allow them to overcome our feelings for His glory.
So, if you think it's time to go shopping because of feelings, put your bag down and ask God for grace to maintain and remain where you are. Stop running from a work of grace that God wants to do in and through you, that just might trigger revival! Ask Him for illumination into the wrong attitudes that have hidden themselves in your own heart before you abandon the Bride.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
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