Archive for July, 2013

Belonging

July 17, 2013

I have seen a lot of ads lately, talking about having this and that benefit if you will join their organization.
A lot of golf courses would love to have you play but you need to join the club. Sams Club is in the business of selling merchandise, but you have to join the club to shop there.

You don’t really have to know the other members (Sams Club has thousands) to get the benefits. Oh by the way, the golf club charges a lot of money to join. Sams Club has a yearly membership fee.

I knew a man once at another church that was a multimillionaire. He had a worldwide company that had thousands of employees. When he spoke everyone of them listened, and obeyed his instructions. In church however it was common to see him sometimes sweeping the floor or hanging the Christmas decorations from a ladder in December. He worked very hard for the church and willingly became a servant of the Lord so that he could help build the church for God.

I reflected on this man and realized that he was so busy with his corporate duties, flying all over the world in meetings all the time that even though he had a heart for God he had no way to express it. The church gave him that way.

Another story that doesn’t involve the church but makes the point for me. Jean Nidetch, a 214 pound homemaker desperate to lose weight went to the New Your City Department of Health, where she was given a diet by a doctor. Two months later and very discouraged about the 50 pounds she was still overweight, she invited 6 overweight friends to meet at her home to share the diet and talk about how to stay on it. Today, almost 30 years later, one million members attend 25,000 Weight Watchers
meetings every week!

Why was Nidetch able to help people take control of their lives? To answer that she tells a story; When she was a teenager , she used to cross a park where she saw mothers visiting one another while their kids sat on their swings with no one to push them. “I’d give them a push” says Nidetch. ” And you know what happens when you push a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he is using his muscles to do it himself–that is what my role in life is, I am there to give others the push they need to get started”

Membership in church also has its price. The price of being a member of a church is simply this: you commit yourself to be involved so that others might do things for Christ that they would not do for themselves. Or put another way, without the vehicle of the church body and fellow “members”
you might not reach out and give the community and those in need, the gifts that you have been given by God that you have to give. Oh you say, if church is where I can express my faith, my heart for the Lord and for those less fortunate, which church is it that gives me that vehicle?

If you study the early church, they only focused on worship and discipleship. Church doctrine is not the same as God’s law. In the book of Jeremiah it says that God has a special and unique plan for each one of us. He cannot fulfill that plan however, unless we become open to letting him do his work in us. That establishes a commitment from you to God.

Now by joining a church, a church that has spirit filled worship and an visible outreach and discipleship program, you are putting that commitment on the line and showing God that you are willing to work for Him. Do we see commitment talked about in the bible? Many times. The Apostle Paul refers to himself as a “prisoner” in the Lord. In Amos it talks about two people being in agreement with one another.That implies a commitment right there. In Romans it talks about being devoted to each other.You cannot be devoted to anybody for any reason unless you also have a commitment to that person to some degree.

In Romans 12:5 it says “so in Christ, we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others”. In belonging to a church you are happy because the love of others that Christ put in you has an expression. You are happy because you have fellow believers to share worship and outreach with.

I heard about a high school that had a career day. All the seniors filed into the gym and each guest presented his or her career and invited them to come to his or her booth at the end of their presentation. All the services were there, Army, Navy Coast Guard. But the last one to make a presentation was the representative from the Marines. He stepped up to the podium, looked around at the group and said “I don’t see anyone here who could make it in our program. It is the toughest challenge you could ever face. I don’t think any of you have the guts to become a Marine. If you think you have what it takes, come see me after the presentation.
After the assembly was over, guess which booth had the largest number of inquiries? The Marine was flooded with applications. You see, we know intuitively the commitment that is required of a lot of us will bring us the most benefit. When the cost and requirements and sacrifice is high to belong to an organization (the church) the payoff is always a stronger character and a sense of real accomplishment.

When Marilyn and I joined a church, we became fellow workers with the other members but more than that, we became friends with them. But what excited us even more is that we became part of a group that reached out in the community and helped serve those less fortunate. Everywhere we have gone , our social circle has formed around our church family. We worked beside them, we shared meals with them and and had fun activities with them.

Can I urge you to consider joining a church if you are not already a member? The benefits are greater than Sams Club or the golf course. Amen

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