As I drive up to the building on Sunday, I scan the yard to make sure it looks clean. I walk up to the building, one step at a time. As I open the door, I am greeted by a friendly face, a big hug, a warm cup of coffee (someone had brewed before I got there.) and then, some one asks if my children would like to see the kid’s area down stairs. Before I know I it, the music starts being played, lights go dim, and hearts and minds are focused on lyrics pointing me to my great God. After 20 minutes or so, I sit and prepare myself to here the Word of God spoken and delved into by someone far more capable than myself.
By the time noon comes around, I have been fed doughnuts, drank three paper cups of coffee, had my children moved to a wonderland where they and I will feel free to worship, and then had my soul moved through the worship, and my spirit fed through the preaching. Some how in all of this, I feel tired almost exhausted. In two hours I have set, stood, sang and listened.
Months of this goes by and I love my church. It is so fun, the music, preaching, children’s ministry and the life groups are great too. But, I feel kind of empty, like I am missing something. While, I have grown a lot in my understanding of scriptures, I am still struggling to put it into practice in my daily life of home and work. I also feel like I have nothing to offer. I cannot teach, I can sing but trust me you would not want to hear it, someone already makes the coffee, they already have the best children’s ministry team. I just do not know where I fit. I feel as though I am no longer growing and no longer really fit. What is wrong?
I have seen a few of these letters in my life as a pastor but, honestly not enough of them. Most of the time the letter is never written and what ends up happening is we move on to another church, hoping there we will find the answers. And sure enough, we get a spiritual fix for three-six months but then, the exact feelings come back, no real change and never fully fitting in.
The truth is more church going Americans feel this way than not. We just hide it and move from one church to the next in hopes we will find the other side of the rainbow.
So, what is the solution. I will make this short, as I am about run out of room but, do me a huge favor. Go read 1 Cor. 12-14.
The solution is you getting to work in your local church. The solution is you allowing the Holy Spirit to manifest His love for you, the church and Jesus through you. The answer is for you not to judge yourself by the gifts of others, not get jealous over the way God uses others. The solution is for you, to allow the manifestations of the Holy Spirit to work through and in your life and in the context of your local church.
You will never be able to apply the information you hear on Sundays if you do not have a safe place to put it into practice. That safe place, is the local church. How will you be able to control your tongue at work, if you cannot control your tongue as you work side by side with sister busy body? Your growth will be stunted until you begin to use your gifts in your local church.
As far as fitting in goes, you will never feel as though you fully fit in until you are sweating, and dodging bullets with your brothers and sisters. You see family is made in two ways, through natural birth and through sweat and tears.
Paul tells us to use the manifestations of the Spirit to build one another up. In other words, get in the fox hole with other men and women of God and begin to do the work of being the Church. Build each other up through the Spirit, allow the Spirit to manifest His love through you to others and before long, you will not only be maturing and growing, but, you will be part of the family.
You do not need to be a teacher, musician, coffee maker or door hugger/greeter. You simply need to allow the Holy Spirit to use you to build others up. Allow the Spirit to manifest through you in love towards others. Be open to the things of the Spirit and allow Him to use you to build your local church up. Once we begin to do this, there will be no reason to write that letter.