18 And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
21 Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
What does that say to you? It says a lot to me. Someone said to Jesus, I’ll follow you wherever you go. What did Jesus say? He basically said you don’t know what you’re saying. He told him that even the foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but I don’t even have a place to sleep. That doesn’t sound too comfortable does it? The next part of these scriptures is even harsher.
What am I getting at? Well, I’m not sure I can put it into words that will do it justice. Church has become a social hub. I guarantee if you walk into almost any church here in America, you’ll hear some juicy gossip. Proverbs 6:19 says that God hates those who sow discord among the bretheren. That’s what gossip will do.
Churches are full of cliques. I’ve been guilty of that one. People come in to visit and some will welcome them, while others stick to their group of friends. I understand this could have something to do with people just not being comfortable. I know how our personalities can determine how we interact with others. Believe me. I’ve got one of those personalities where I’m not real comfortable one on one with people. I can speak to groups, but find it hard to be in group discussions. So I get that sometimes you are just hardwired in a certain way that makes it hard for you to interact socially. I’m not talking about those people. I am talking about those who purposefully avoid others and stick to their friends. Church isn’t a popularity contest. It’s not about your friends. It is about being a hospital for those who are hurting and broken. How can you help someone if you won’t even talk to them?
Now I’m likely to get on all kinds of toes. Money. Yes, churches need money to run. I get that too. We need lights and heat. I understand. I used to be a church treasurer, I know what it takes to run a church. However, if something happened and for some reason we didn’t have electric, heat or air conditioning. Would people still come? What if it was uncomfortable to go? I remember growing, up our church was hot in the summer and cold in the winter and that was WITH heat and air conditioning. They didn’t seem to help much. We showed up and we had church. We had some really great services. Comfort isn’t required to have church or to be a church. Check the verses I shared above. You can also ask our brothers and sisters around the world who show up to have church in places most of us here wouldn’t set foot into.
Again, this is my opinion and remember what it can get you. That’s right, nothing. Churches shouldn’t be fancy. There is no need for chandeliers or fancy lighting and furnishings. People, churches have split over the color of carpet! Do you understand how that stinks in God’s nostrils? We wouldn’t be needing social security, food stamps and welfare if the church was busy doing it’s job instead of showing off it’s “riches”. Tithes should be brought into the storehouse, but they should be used to feed the homeless, help the widow and orphans and those who guenuinely not able to help themselves. I have real issues with that money being spent on things that don’t matter in the big picture. Will that new sound system be going to Heaven? Nope. Will that brand new carpet go there? Nope. Will that fancy projection system make it? Nope. You know what will make it? People. That’s what our focus should be on.
I’m not against nice buildings. If you want that, go for it, but don’t use the tithes for it. Take up a special building fund if you have to and then see who all is willing to give to it. You may find its not as high on people’s list as you think it is. People matter, and I see a lot of lip service and no action. I will include myself in that. We go to church and pray God send the people in. When God says to go OUT to the highways and hedges and compel them to come in. We go to church with our group and have a good time. We have revivals. We have dinners. We have all kinds of social things. What ends up happening is we may have a few visitors, but more often than not we are just gathering with each other. Again not a bad thing, but it can’t be all we do. We can’t claim to be trying to reach people when we won’t leave the four walls.
This post is getting really long. Much longer than I like, but I feel it’s important that we wake up as a church. Why am I brining this before you? I feel strongly about it. I’ve had a LOT of time to think. My wife and I have discussed these issues often. We are on the same page. Honestly, we’d rather spend Sunday at a homeless shelter feeding others, or somewhere outside the four walls doing something to advance the Kingdom of Heaven than to sit through one more service.
I’ll close with this. Sounds like a preacher doesn’t it? Because I am one! There is a song by Jimmy Needham and the first verse says. “Clear the stage and set the sound and lights a blaze, if that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols. Jerk the pews and all the decorations too, until the congregations few. Then have revival. Tell your friends that this is where the party ends, until you’re broken for your sins you can’t be social.” That says so much. Church isn’t about you. It’s not about me. It’s where we disciple others. It’s where we learn and grow and support each other. We can’t go on allowing people to walk in afraid to say they are struggling and hurting. We can’t allow bad stewarding with God’s money. We must, must, must decide what’s important and run after it. No matter what it takes. In my opinion, when we get the church right, we will see revival. You won’t be able to keep people out.