Saturday, August 18, 2007


John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (NIV)

I was having an interesting discussion the other day about church with a long time member. This person volunteers three days a week for a special organization because he wants to do something that makes a difference in the world. He doesn’t feel that organized religion can supply his personal needs to be doing something meaningful. Somewhere along his spiritual journey, his attitude about church has become detached. I listened carefully to what he was saying and tried to understand his dilemma. He wants his church to make a difference in the world, but he can’t see that what we are presently doing accomplishes that goal.

I think that what he was expressing is something that many people feel about church today. It’s an institutional monster which constantly needs fed to maintain buildings, ministries, and missions. There’s nothing exciting about giving money to fix a wall or sending money to other religious institutions. There’s nothing dynamic about maintaining ecclesiastical cisterns and pipes, rooms and roofs that constantly need attention. If you think that church is just a religious business or commercial caring center, then you may indeed lose any sense of relevance that is has. If all that we are doing in church is oiling the machinery of ministry and keeping the momentum for mission support going, then there is no meaning or purpose. We are just collecting dollars in order to spend them. We’re just recycling money in a religious way.

But what is the purpose of the church? Is it to make an impact on the community, so that life on earth is better? If that’s the case, then we’re no different from all the other philanthropic clubs, organizations, and foundations in our community. We may as well merge with other compassionate associations that promote the well-being of the community. Church life would be no different and church membership would just be like joining a club.

Yet there is a difference. All those clubs, organizations, and foundations will eventually diminish and fade away. The church goes on into eternity. Where we have made a difference in the world is preparing people to meet their Maker, is in helping others to get into God’s Kingdom. Our churches, ministries and missions are vehicles for one eternal and everlasting purpose: to bring people to Christ and to help them find salvation for their souls. At the end of history, when all of humanity is judged, it will not be the amount of philanthropic organizations that we have financed, joined or helped that will save us; it will be our sincere belief in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God who forgives our sins and saves our souls, that will be of the utmost and eternal importance.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, there are many good causes in our community that need our time, talents, and treasures of support. They specialize in making a difference in the world for those who are helpless, powerless, and in great need. Your churches are in the same business, yet they are called to have an impact, not just in today’s world, but throughout all of eternity. Give us a better understanding of why our churches exist, what we are supposed to do, and how we can expand, extend, and enhance Your ministry and mission in the world. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Stushie writes the daily devotional Heaven's Highway

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