Too Important to be Immaterial

thecupTomorrow our church family will gather to encourage one another and put our minds to spiritual things. At least that’s what I hope. In any given assembly there are those who are there of obligation, of duty to family members, of mere habit, of keeping up appearances. There are also those who are there out of motives of devotion, discipleship, piety, and seeking deeper relationship with God. I’ve been there, haven’t you? Yes, all of them … motives good and bad.

In some of those times when our attitude is less than stellar, it’s easy to develop the impression that all of it is immaterial. When our heart is on the sour side, we can sometimes think that everyone is like us. We can easily judge others. I see it often when people decide to use their blogs to take a rip at the church … accusations fly that people do not really care, are not passionate, etc. This often has more reflection on the unhappy person than it does on the church.

I really believe most people who get up, dress, show up at the assembly … are people who are wanting to find their way in God’s Kingdom together. I doubt there are very many who feel it is all immaterial. It’s too important to be immaterial.

But at the same time, it’s always easy to fall into habits of complacency. And that’s part of why it is so important to be together. We need to call one another back to lively devotion in Christ.

My friend Chris recently wrote about an experience he had with someone who was looking for a place that was too important to be immaterial.

A few weeks ago, I walked in to the bank … God immediately opened up a door to hear the story of someone who is desperate to find an authentic place where she and her fiancé can safely explore what it means to follow Jesus. A place where love overflows, where loving God is THE MAIN THING and where the church is asking the same questions that she was about how to live life in a better way. It was encouraging to me to meet this girl who has an interest in knowing a just and caring Father and wants to be a part of something bigger than herself and has a personal goal to be a blessing to her community. This last week, this young girl brought her fiancé with her to church…This is a simple first step for her, but it’s one that would have never happened had we not walked in to a bank…

And here is where I think we can see the duel work of discipleship. It is working in Chris’ heart because he is open to those around him. His eyes are open, he sees the person in front of him, not just a server, a teller, a checker, an automaton who is there to help him move from point A to point B … he sees what is too important to be immaterial… a real creation of God.

Because of that, the lady feels free to open up about her search for authenticity. She’s looking for something that’s too important to be immaterial.

So when we gather tomorrow, I would like to ask us to consciously do some things together …

*Keep your eyes open. Who around you needs some encouragement? Who needs their faith bolstered? Can you pray with them right there in the pew? Don’t worry about everything else going on around, just create a moment of healing and grace right there. Who’s sitting alone? How lonesome is it to sing by yourself? Make sure no one sits alone.

*Look for a stranger and make them feel at home. Don’t let them come to your place of worship and sit alone, be greeted superficially, and leave without making a friend. Be the friend they need you to be. Take them to lunch. Find out how to get in touch…not just so they’ll come back next week … but because they came seeking something and you can share it with them.

*Worship wholeheartedly. Let your body reflect your worship. It should be natural … and it should be obvious to those around that you are fully engaged in worshiping the Father. Why is this important? Because you are not there alone. Your passionate worship will be an encouragement to those around you. I’m not asking anyone to fake anything … but if we can get enthused over truly immaterial things … surely we can get enthused about something that is too important to be immaterial.

*Start the conversation. When you leave the assembly, having worshiped with your whole heart, ministered to the hurting, loved on the seeking … you should now be conscious of opportunities to have a conversation with someone. Who? I believe God is putting people in our path at all times. Do not assault the uninterested … they may be more interested another day. But if Jesus is mentioned from your lips often, you will find someone wanting to talk about Him. This doesn’t mean you’re going to have awesome deep conversations every day. What makes your discipleship genuine? Your love for Jesus permeates every area of your life. You are not leaving behind your commitment to God when you walk out of the church building. You are moving beyond basic moral behavior into interacting with the souls around you … speaking God’s grace into their lives.

It is too important to be immaterial … it is the breath of your life … this love for Jesus … your church needs to see it in you …  your world needs to see it in you.

Have you treated the church as if it were immaterial to you six days a week?

Thanks for reading,

john