So you don’t think you need to go to church? You’re right. Going to church is pointless if that’s all that you do. Allow me to explain.
Think of your own home for a moment. Dad, mom, perhaps a few siblings. When there are things that need to get done around the house, who does them? Do dad and mom do all the work while you and your siblings sit around the house watching?
Growing up in my house, we each had assigned tasks and areas of our house that we needed to keep maintained. Dad typically handled outdoor things such as the lawn and garden, washing cars, etc. As I grew up, I began joining him in those tasks. Mom mainly focused on mopping, laundry, cooking, etc. Over the years, my sister and I would take turns cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming the house. And dishes? At some point during the week, everyone would get their hands wet.
Everyone played a part in maintaining our home because each of us lived there.
For some reason, this mentality seems to get lost when we walk out our front doors and into our church buildings every Sunday morning. We approach church the same way that people approach their favorite sports teams: we watch them compete for the win, but we don’t ourselves participate.
The Church and the Lakers: Two Different Things
Since before Kobe Bryant entered the league, I’ve been a die-hard Lakers fan. Each year, I’ve followed them extensively, watching every single second of every single game. I watch all the post-game interviews, read all the articles and blog posts, and memorize all of the players stats. In all of this, I’ve never actually helped them win a game. I wasn’t involved in the blockbuster trade for Dwight Howard. I didn’t hire Mike D’Antoni as the new head coach. I’ve never helped Kobe work on his jump shot (contrary to popular belief). I watch the Lakers, but I don’t play for them.
Believe it or not, church and the Lakers are two different things.
The Body of Christ
In one of his letters to the church in Corinth, Paul likens the church to a body: “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). In this passage, Paul describes each Christian as being an individual body part of the body of Christ. One person, for example, is a foot, another is a hand, someone else is an eye, and so on. If a foot were missing from the body, the body could not move as adequately as it could if the foot were still attached. Sure, the body will go on functioning but not as well as it could. Each body part needs the others for the entire body to fully function in the manner in which it was created to.
When Jesus calls you to Himself, you are now a member of the body of Christ, the household and kingdom of God.
Which Part Are You?
What gifts do you have? What’s your talent? What passions do you have? What moves your heart? What do you enjoy doing? Why not use that gift, talent, passion, and/or heart for the advance of the gospel and the glory of God’s Name through the church?
The bottom line is that Jesus calls you to be a part of the church. He doesn’t call you to simply go to church and watch the pastoral staff serve like you watch the Lakers compete; Jesus actually wants you ( He wants YOU!) to be a part of spreading the gospel and advancing His kingdom here on earth.
Sure, the church has her problems. Yes, you’re likely to get burned by someone. But those are the people that Jesus calls to Himself: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). Instead of running from the problems of the church, we are called to face them, using our gifts, talents, and passions to advance the gospel through the church:
- the church has problems; help fix them
- the church has holes; help fill them
- the church is filled with liars; help keep ’em honest
- the church is unfriendly; help bring a smile
- the church is messed up; help her
- the church is hurting; help comfort her
- the church is divisive; help unite her
- the church is out of touch with culture; help her engage the gospel in culture
- the church burns people; so you’re gonna burn her?
- the church is judgmental; is that a judgement?
- the church is intolerant; can you tolerate that?
- the church is filled with hypocrites; you fit right in
God has given you some sort of gift, talent, or passion to use so that you can bless the church and serve a dying world. My mother would’ve slapped me if I refused to do my chores in our household. You are a valuable member of God’s household; do your chores. We are called by Jesus to participate in the life the church. But the Lakers? Let’s just let Kobe do his thing…
The church is filled with broken, sick, hurting, people; dear Christian, you fit right in.