Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Dirty work

Let’s face it: we don’t need special glasses to see how apathetic, inconsistent, and hypocritical the church can be. The problem, of course, is that it’s made up of people like you and me. Some things God does himself, flawlessly. Everything else he leaves for his people to do the best way we can. The best way, of course, is through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Even with the reality and power of that Spirit, Kingdom work can sometimes seem fitful and messy.

But don’t let the messiness blind us to the blessedness. Jesus sometimes compared the Kingdom of God to seed, and of course seeds grow in dirt. The seed of God's Word is the power of Jesus Christ himself. And something unique happens when Jesus touches dirt: instead of getting dirty himself, Jesus makes the dirt clean.

So Christians, let's be encouraged in the church. At times we may see mainly dirt, but God sees what's growing underneath—for our blessing and his glory.


(c) Copyright 2008, A. Milton Stanley

9 comments:

NaNcY said...

good encouragement.

Milton Stanley said...

Thanks for saying so, sister, and thanks for being such a faithful reader. Peace.

Kansas Bob said...

Nice blogsite Milton. Your post reminded me of a conversation I had a long time ago with Tom. He was not a believer. He told me that he thought that the church was a mess. I answered his concern and told him that I knew why the church was a mess and wondered if he would like to know why as well. Perplexed by my response, Tom said that he would like to know why the church was mess. God gave me some wisdom. I told him that the church is a mess because "I" am a mess … and I am in good company.

You know that the church has always been a mess. The apostle Paul spent large parts of his letters dealing with messy situations in the early churches. It amazes me that we think that it should be something different.. speaks to a larger problem.

Milton Stanley said...

Thanks, Bob, for reading and for sharing your experiences. Peace.

Spherical said...

Love the analogy of the seed in the dirt. It is sometimes so frustrating to talk to people outside of the church who just want to point to all of the church's imperfections. And sometimes it is even hard as a Christian not to get caught up in that mindset.

I had a friend who once told me, "Isn't it amazing what God can accomplish through a screw-up like him?" (Refering to an acquaintance of ours who just had his share of problems, yet had somehow managed to write a praise chorus that everyone seemed to be singing.)

It made me think, yeah, but what really amazes me is what he can accomplish sometimes through a screw-up like me!

franklin said...

I like what you have to say but somehow I'm left wondering if I have to go to a church building on Sunday a.m. and listen to a sermon and sing songs in order to "be encouraged in the church". I don't know if that is what you mean or not.

I love "the church" but I don't love any one particular organized institutionalized expression of it. I'm encouraged by the other believers I know and by my "band of brothers" with whom I meet with every week for prayer and encouragement.

Thanks for your words though...

Milton Stanley said...

Spherical: Amen. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

Milton Stanley said...

Franklin: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You're always welcome to visit and leave comments here.

Being encouraged in the church means being involved in worship and fellowship in a local body of believers. They may or may not meet at a "church" building, a building set aside for church gatherings. But wherever they meet--a rented hall, a living room, a park--the church does meet regularly to worship God and encourage one another. Wherever they meet in this life, the church will always be flawed to some extent, but those weak and flawed communities of believers are where God has chosen to express his kingdom on earth.

All the best.

franklin said...

a hearty "Amen"...and that from a Presbyterian. Thanks for the clarification. Peace.