This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s Message: I Love my church…love in community (WATCH HERE).
Restaurant or Relationship?
We enjoy eating out…perhaps more than we should!
When we do, we subconsciously are rating the ambiance, the service, the food and the overall experience. My wife enjoys taking pictures of the food when it comes out and posting a review on google for the restaurant.
We rate a restaurant based on our experience with it. If we love it, we go back and recommend it. If we don’t, we won’t go back and find another place to enjoy a meal.
At a restaurant we rate it based on how it served us. We are the consumer, they are the contributor. If we don’t like what we consumed, we move on.
Sometimes we can treat church like this.
It is easy to simply evaluate a church experience based on how well it served me. Perhaps phrases like, “I didn’t get anything out of the sermon.” “No one said ‘hi’ to me.” “They didn’t have anything for my kids.”
To be sure, as a pastor, I want every guest to have a five-star experience for their visit. I want them to be greeted and made to feel welcome. I want the message to communicate Christ in a real and meaningful way. I want their children to be encouraged in their life of faith as well.
However, if one never moves from a consumer to a contributor, the church remains like a restaurant with a few people serving the masses.
But God didn’t design his church to be like a restaurant, he designed it to be about relationships.
When I love a person, I don’t rate them with stars. I don’t discontinue the relationship when there is a challenge. No, when I love a person based on a relationship, it is a love that is built on deep commitment. It is a love that is willing to serve more than be served. It is a love that is willing to invest time, energy, and resources to make it better…because the relationships matter.
That’s what I mean when I say, “I love my church.” I love my church because of who it is and what it stands for. It is worth the investment in the people, in the relationships. I love my church, so I’m not going to leave if the preacher has a bad sermon one Sunday, or another person doesn’t say hello. Instead, I am going to be a contributor and do all I can, for the sake and love of Jesus to make it better.
It’s just what Christians do when they love their church and the relationships that are part of it.
Here’s what it looks like:
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Apply: What changes for you when you think of church more in terms of relationships to invest in over a restaurant to consume?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your love and grace that brings me into relationship with you and your people. Empower me by your Spirit to invest in the people of my church to build stronger connections to them and to you. AMEN.