Sometimes we can feel a certain amount of shame and guilt when we are not participating in the life of the church in the same way as others. We get in the habit of comparing our efforts or resources to someone who we consider to be a spiritual powerhouse. Or, perhaps the opposite is true….Maybe we get annoyed because we see someone doing, and giving so much that we think that they are “showing off”.
When we talk about the giving money to God’s kingdom, these feelings become fact in our own hearts and minds. Some can give a little and some can give a lot. Other people feel embarrassed with how much they can give so they decide not to give at all. When we allow ourselves to begin thinking this way we are missing the point.
Here is the secret about giving… Giving has nothing to do with building the church’s bank account, paying the pastor, or even supplying enough resources to make rent. It has everything to do with acting in obedience as a spiritual exercise. Also, when we give to the building of God’s kingdom the resources will always be there for those who choose to take this step. It may not make sense…the numbers will never add up, but somehow it just happens. Giving sacrificially is the key. Maybe, for you it is not a money issue… The same is true with your time, talents, and everything else God has provided for you.
What does it mean to be a mature Christian? What does this look like in the context of Sunday worship, and even my personal free time? These are questions that we have to wrestle with when we make the conscious decision to grow deeper in our faith. As a sequel to the last writing, I want to give a few short examples of what it looks like to have maturity in the context of the body of Christ.
First, as I talked about previously, we must be willing to look at the church as a training ground to deepen our faith. The conflicts we work through in a healthy way and the experiences we share are meant to help us learn and become better examples of Christ.
Next, we are called to commitment. Through the exciting times and those that are discouraging, we are called to participate in the body of Christ…not just so attendance is better, but so that others can gain blessing from the gifts that God has given you. Blessings from God are given so that they can be shared to encourage and support the kingdom. This leads me to my next writing…
Get ready….next time I am going to talk about giving (gulp)…
….to be continued
What is the purpose of church? Why can’t we just worship God and leave it at that? Churches are intimidating places, so why can’t we just be a Christian in solitude? Why do I need to spend time with people who bother me from time to time? Why are there so many hypocrites in the church? These have been questions that have rattled around in my brain many times. Perhaps you have thought one of them at some point. Each one of these questions are valid and observable. So, what is the point?
Think of church (the weekly gathering) as a place in which imperfect people, who sometimes fail, get together to worship God and learn. Are there still hypocrites? Yes, of course….but that has never stopped anyone from going to the mall or their local grocery store. These places are packed full of people who do not live consistent lives, and the experience is not centered around God. When we attend a regular gathering such as church, we are engaging in a safe controlled experience in which we learn how to deal with conflict, grow deeper in our faith, and what it means to live a life that looks more and more like Jesus Christ. We grow closer to God when we show others mercy, handle conflict in a health way, and seek maturity in our walk.
Church is more than just a place to be seen once a week. It is a place that requires effort, and sacrifice. Choose to become more mature in your faith. Ask God to guide you in this process.
….to be continued