Preaching to the choir

0
237
WEBcarpentercorner2.jpg

My perfect Sunday would start off with sleeping in until 9:30 am where I would wake without the aid of an alarm clock. Walking quickly to the closet I wouldn’t have any trouble picking out something to wear while my wife prepared a breakfast of poached eggs on sourdough toast. Shortly after a leisurely commute I would arrive at church, which would be packed with sinners eagerly waiting to receive the gospel. Every need of the church was already being met by a surplus of mature Christians who were more than eager to serve God.

My perfect Sunday would start off with sleeping in until 9:30 am where I would wake without the aid of an alarm clock. Walking quickly to the closet I wouldn’t have any trouble picking out something to wear while my wife prepared a breakfast of poached eggs on sourdough toast. Shortly after a leisurely commute I would arrive at church, which would be packed with sinners eagerly waiting to receive the gospel. Every need of the church was already being met by a surplus of mature Christians who were more than eager to serve God.

The sound and visuals would be in the hands of capable people who had made it to church early to get everything they needed in order. The music was provided by skillful musicians who were not drawing attention to themselves while a vast assembled choir was ready to sing praises to their God. There wouldn’t be any need for volunteers to greet people because everyone coming into the church reached out to greet one another.

How many Sunday sermons do we need to hear before we get the message that God wants us to contribute, to serve and give back to others? How many fruitless arguments, discussions do we need to endure or board meetings do we need to schedule before the message gets out that we are to love one another through acts of service? Where is the community in our community of believers? What are we doing as individual churches to foster unity in and around our neighborhoods?

While it’s true our work for God is not the essence of our salvation, or we would all be boasting about those things we have done, but rather it’s the fruit of His labor working in us. God is doing a work in all His children through a process that is many times difficult and painful. The process of surrendering to His will take courage, determination and requires daily sacrifice on our part. With so many distractions in our lives it’s no wonder our light is not shinning as bright as it could be or even shinning at all.

So many times, as a pastor, I feel like I’m preaching to the choir. Many of us have heard the gospel, know the good news frontwards and backwards and need to move forward into service. It’s safe to say that Jesus didn’t waste time arguing textual interpretation with religious fanatics but instead spent much of His time walking across the street to heal a leprous person, make the lame walk and make the blind to see. He even said he didn’t come to serve the wealthy or heal the healthy but rather to serve the poor and heal the sick. Do the righteous need forgiveness and repentance?

Many of our spiritual lives are like an overdrawn bank account where we have too many withdraws and not enough deposits. Our earthly bank account is growing while our heavenly account has almost nothing in it. I have never known one person who on his deathbed said, “I wished I had worked more overtime”.  There has to be joy in our journey and purpose in each step we take. Our hope has to be etched into an eternity in heaven with God while our motivation has to be living in a way that puts a smile on our Lord’s face.

 Sometimes, I wonder what it will really be like in heaven and if I will remember all the time I’ve wasted down here on earth? Every Sunday, as stand and survey the faces starring back at me from the pulpit, I often wonder if they are going to leave with a smile, a word of encouragement, a word of knowledge or are they even receiving a promised blessing by giving back to God in the form of a weekly sacrificial monetary offering. Are people being saved from a sin sick soul, are the sick being made well, are the blind receiving sight, are the lame walking and are deaf being made to hear?

We have so little time to make a difference in this world. With so many distractions and cares adding to the burden we already carry it’s no wonder we have so little energy left to keep our lamps burning. Just remember life is a vapor, it forms a temporary cloud that disappears as our days so quickly begin to speed toward eternity.

So let us make each word count and every thought be pure. Never pass up an opportunity to encourage someone or help out somewhere in the community in which we live and work. Take time to remember that God loves us. He loves us very deeply no matter how much muck and mire we trudge through and find ourselves standing in.