I was at Willow Creek’s Leadership Summit this year and WOW did God ever speak to us. In times like these it’s very easy for people to become self-focused. Money’s tight, people are losing their homes, jobs are tenuous or nonexistent… times are tough! So yeah, it’s very easy to be self-focused. And truth be told, being self-focused isn’t a bad thing…it’s often necessary.
However, in times like these it’s also good to take a page from Christ’s playbook. He talked about how important it is to take care of our neighbors. The example we get from the Apostles is the same when in Acts we read about how Christians shared what they had with everyone who had need so that everyone was taken care of.
So what do we do with that? Some today still preach communal living. While communal living may have its benefits, for most of us it conjures up images of cults. So I doubt communal living is the answer for people losing their homes. However, there is something to be learned from this idea of “community” when it comes to how we as the body of Christ ought to be caring for one another.
I posed this question at church a few Sundays ago: “How can it be acceptable to any of us that ONE MORE FAMILY in our community loses their home if we can help it?” I used the example of a dying child. I asked our church if one of our kids were dying and all we had to do was raise a few thousand dollars to save the child’s life, wouldn’t we empty our pockets, purses, and wallets to ensure the child’s survival? Yet with other issues we often have less urgency. Prioritizing in this way (in my view) is wrong. Because unless we become a healthy church and can take care of EACH OTHER… how can we be a part of saving the lives of starving children elsewhere? So if you think of it this way, our tendency to put ourselves first prevents us from helping those who Christ told us to go help.
Therefore, the only hope we have of truly fulfilling the mission of Christ is to get out of our self-focused mode and start thinking about our broader community. If we CAN help it, we NEED to help it! So no, it’s not acceptable to me that one more family in my church and community loses their home! NOT ONE MORE. But what can I do about it?
I cannot do a single darn thing. But WE can do anything we put our minds to because we know it’s the will of God to LIVE THE GOSPEL in our community. This isn’t rocket science. But if because we’re afraid of these economic times, we hoard what we have and refuse to help… well, I wonder if the mission will ever get off the ground. The lesson in scripture for this sort of economy is for the church to band together and ensure that we are able to survive and move forward, advancing the Kingdom.
So I challenge you to step up. Consider this next time you think about your giving. Consider this next time you think about your time…whether or not you will volunteer. One of the guest speakers at the Willow conference said “Churches are like football teams, but they only huddle”. They go to church on Sundays and they huddle…and they huddle during the week…but they never get out and play the game. Time to stop huddling. We already know the gameplan. We’ve been reading about it, hearing sermons about it, and learning about it in Sunday School for our entire lives. Enough talk. Break the huddle and get in to the game!