This entry in Our Daily Bread really had me thinking. I have been wanting to post this for some time now but I only got the chance to do so just now.
A Church That Cares
Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. -Philippians 2:4
While traveling together, my wife and I started talking with a delightful young woman we met. The time passed quickly as we chatted about lighthearted topics. But when she heard that I was a minister, the conversation took a heart-wrenching turn. She began to share with us that when her husband left her only a few months earlier, she had struggled with the pain of that abandonment.
Then she smiled and said, “I can’t tell you how much my church has meant to me these past months.” her modd and countenance changed dramatically as she recounted the ways her church family had wrapped their loving arms around her in her season of heartache. It was refreshing to hear how that local assembly had surrounded her with the love of Christ.
Far too often, it seems we limit the significance of church to what happens on Sunday, but the church is to be so much more. It is to be a safe haven, a rescue station, and a training center for spiritual service. The church is to be many things, but it is particularly to be an expression of the concerned heart of the Lord of the church for the hurting, broken people, such as our young friend. We are called to “love one another” (1John 4:7).
Sometimes we confuse activity with productivity. I believe that we are most productive when we are able to get to the heart of people – when we actually get to know the deepest part of them; when they are always free to tell us how they really feel because they know we understand. We are most productive when we are able to give even when we know we are not going to get anything in return. We are most productive when we can succeed in making people feel that with us they can be safe and that through all the challenges and turmoils that life throws at them, we are their comfort, their refuge, their rest. We are most productive when we are able to share the comforting and concerned heart of God to those who need them the most.