I sometimes hear people say that they don’t need to come to church. They say, “I can be a Christian without going to church.” I always half-jokingly say that you can’t because when you go to church other church people are going to irritate you and that will help you grow as a Christian. I do believe that we are sometimes used like sandpaper to smooth others’ rough edges and vice-verse.
But the truth is, what church does the most is allow us to be with other believers and not-yet believers to learn and grow and see things through others’ eyes. I had a moment of seeing things in a different way this week.
Most of you already know, but some will find this blog post through Google, so I feel the need to explain – Our church put on a Vacation Bible School style Block Party in a trailer park in our community. Most of the people who live there have a very low income and several have drug and/or alcohol problems. It was such a “love like Jesus” day listening to people who live there talk about cancer, drugs, alcohol, money, and other problems and telling them of and showing them the love of Jesus. It was a glorious day.
Right at 6:00, when we were scheduled to end, chaos erupted. People were running through the neighborhood, the emergency squad and police arrived, and word quickly spread that a person in one of the mobile homes had just killed himself. What a horrible end to a glorious day. In the following days, one of the things that kept running through my mind over and over was if we hadn’t been there that day, the four kids and wife wouldn’t have been at the party we put on and the person wouldn’t have been alone and had the opportunity to take his own life.
I didn’t tell anyone what I was thinking. After a few days, I told a fellow pastor that I talk with every week what happened and he immediately blurted out, “Wow, God may have just used you all to save a woman and four kids.” I never thought about that. I couldn’t get over the thought that we provided the opportunity for him to be alone. My friend helped me see it through a different lens and how God may have been at work.
I am thankful that God has given us other people to help us on our journey. This Sunday is “Everybody who comes to church come to church Sunday.” If everyone who comes to our church comes this week, we’ll have to put chairs out. I’m not sure how many will show up. But whoever does come, I pray they realize the impact they have on others as we walk together, challenge each other, encourage each other, and help each other see things in a different way. Even something as small as you reading this encourages me. And I pray I’ve helped you see something in a different way. God bless you.