It's incredibly frustrating to live in a small town when it comes to having late evening eating habits-haha. I enjoy the occasional 9pm dinner due to circumstances of working late, tennis practice, rehearsals, etc... It limits your options when you live in a small town because you essentially have to settle for fast food, which isn't always bad, but I like having options-Make sense? Case in point, I had some dear friends in town a few weeks ago and I wanted to treat them to a late dinner at a great Italian food joint here in town, but to my sadness we approached the doors at 9:03 and they were closed:(
This DIRECTLY correlates to our Christian faith friends!!! How often are we closed because something that God might be calling us to do is not fitting in with our schedule or routine? The consequences can be severe when we do this because just like food options in a small town late at night people have to settle. They go to whomever is"open" and that can be scary. Working on a church staff has really helped me develop this discipline of ALWAYS being open to being used. Sometimes you get a call at 2 in the morning and that's when you forsake yourself and your EXTREME desire to curl up in the blankets and say "We're Closed!!!" Instead, you put on mismatched socks and you go to the hospital to be a calming, peaceful-half-asleep presence, or you go to grieve with a family thats lost a loved one.
We are all called to this not just pastors-haha. We are a "Priesthood of saints" according to God's word, and one thing I can tell you as a "pastor" is that I'm just as flawed if not more so than those who don't consider themselves pastors. We are ALL called to compassion, and to love. That's the beauty of reading the New Testament, and about reading of who Jesus was. It's not only a picture of our salvation, its a blurring of that and also showing us a picture of how to live. In Jesus' kindness and compassion and love and forgiveness, we see not only a way to live but also we catch a glimpse of who God is.
When you catch just a tiny glimpse of God's goodness, you can't help but to be changed!!! We tend to be closed to the beauty of God and as a result we tend to be closed to the world. We barricade ourselves in fear of the world because it may not share our same beliefs-Thats absolutely opposite of what Jesus called us to. He was not of the world but He was DEFINITELY in the world. He was showing compassion and grace and mercy on a daily basis to a world that desperately needed to be loved. Has anything changed? This world is seeking to be loved and I would argue that this time and this place is a world that really does care about life and they look to the church to co-opt with them and all they get in return is venom spewed at them by a people living in fear of actually making a difference.
We're too closed church. It's time to open the doors of compassion and forgiveness and grace and beauty!!! Jesus changed the world and modelled it for us, and I'm afraid to say that we are doing the exact opposite by creating segregated country clubs of faith and refusing to share the mind blowing, life altering power of Christ's love!!!
Stop being closed church. I BEG you to open up. I dare you to love!