This morning as I was guzzling coffee and trying to recover from a tough weekend of ministry travels, I was reminded of a Television program that I used to watch. It was sometimes funny, sometimes bazaar but almost always sad at some point. The show was called HOARDERS and it featured people whose lives and homes were overrun with things they had accumulated over the years. Sometimes it was valuables, often times trinkets or toys and maybe just garbage and completely worthless.
As I thought about my weekend with my beautiful Wife and some of our closest ministry friends, I thought about how these events are showing more of a shift in the ratio between target audience and ministry personnel there to reach the lost.
I can remember a time when you’d see 70 or 80 percent of the church coming out for a day of street ministry or community event. Now you see a handful of folks going out. Why is that?
Like the TV Show, we’ve become HOARDERS OF THE GOSPEL. Think about it. God richly blesses our lives. We have his love, mercy, grace & compassion in abundance yet we refuse to give any of it away to our fellow suffering neighbors. We just hoard it up and relish in it for ourselves. So there it is, just piling up all around us. We know we’re lazy. We know our hoarding is a problem but we still head straight out of the church to the buffet and right back home to sit in our heaps of glory without even a thought of sharing what we’ve been given with another. What’s sad about this truth is that all this costs us nothing. God freely gives this through Jesus Christ alone. He gives to us so we can share the gift with those around us. Whatever we give, he will restore but we continue to hoard.
In the TV show, there are others who come in and intervene in the situation. It is always difficult for the hoarder to let go of their treasure but it is necessary.
Once the clutter is out of the way, the hoarder almost always feels a relief and freedom that they didn’t realize they needed. You can feel that way about your spiritual life! Right now your spiritual life might be limited to church attendance. Although that is great, church attendance is meant for you to be equipped for a greater purpose outside the confines of the church. What you’re essentially doing is going into the storehouse once or twice a week, loading up for distribution but bringing it home and dropping it off. It’s piling up. All that was meant to share is getting stale and moldy and turning into spiritual baggage for you. RELEASE IT! Take that and turn it out on your community then see what happens.
Now I’m almost 100% certain that last thought was met with more than a few gasps from the church folk. If you don’t think what we receive at church can get stagnant or stale, I want to introduce you to a new dynamic of ministry that you may not have discovered yet (speaking to you gaspers). I like to think of what my church equips me with as “almost done”. You might say it’s a cake ready to bake. All the ingredients have been mixed and there they sit in the pan but until you bake that cake, it’s just a pool of gooey batter. The oven is out in the streets where it’s hot. As you take that pan out there and start loving God’s people where they’re at, you notice the batter start to change into something a whole lot better than what you left church with. Inside it was edification, instruction, education. Outside it become application and confirmation. You start seeing yourself as an effective part of the body of Christ rather than a wart or skin-tag (you’re there-we can see you there, but not really serving any purpose in the Kingdom).
We have accepted a dwindling vision of what God has planned for our lives. We’ve lost focus and have begun to think this is about us. It was never about us! It has always been about Jesus reconciling us to God; redeeming us. He does that. We don’t do that. He also expects us to share that with those who don’t know yet. If we don’t at least do that much, we’re just wasting our lives navigating a pile of spiritual baggage we were never meant to posses. It’s time we started giving it away so what we receive and carry is always fresh and fragrant for us as well as those we share it with. What if you always had a nice fresh slice of cake ready for a hungry soul instead of that hunk of dried up, cracked, leathery cake batter you’ve been piling up on your kitchen counter for years? There’s us something to think about.
God bless you all to grow and be closer today than you were yesterday to looking more like Jesus to the world around you.
John & Nicole