A great, trustworthy couple who goes to the Short Gap Church is selling a car. It’s a 2004 Honda with 190,000 miles. When they bought it it had a bad transmission so he had it rebuilt. The transmission was rebuilt with a full kit and torque converter. While he had the engine out he replaced some maintenance items like the timing belt, tensioner, water pump, air conditioning line, motor mounts, basically anything not right he says he made right. He’s asking $4,200.
Different people would look at their ad for the car and see the most important fact is that it’s a Honda. They run forever. Some would like the fact that the timing belt has been replaced with that many miles on it. Some might consider buying it because of the price.
I know nothing about the car that’s for sale, yet I would suggest that you buy it if you need a reliable car for a young person or if you are on a fixed income. And it’s not just because it’s a Honda. It’s not just because it has many new parts. It’s because of the people selling it. And it’s not just because they rarely miss church. It’s because I do not believe they would see it if they knew something was wrong with it. And if anything was, they would tell you. You can trust them.
And while some might not like the comparison, I see similarities in the church. We’ve got the best “product” (Jesus), but sometimes we appear so self-serving and inhospitable that people aren’t interested because we lack compassion or lack trustworthiness or we don’t show grace. They aren’t interested in trying out Jesus because the church has no credibility.
In my two years here in Short Gap, my main focus has been to show everyone in the area that the church is credible.
- That we take seriously the command to love our neighbors.
- That we take seriously the command to take the Good News to the rest of the world.
- That we take seriously the command to help those who find themselves in need.
- That we take seriously the command to show mercy and forgiveness.
- That we take seriously the command to show kindness.
There are people in our church and every church who want the same thing – for the church to be the “lighthouse of the storms of the world”. But there are others in our church and in every church who are the very ones that have given the church the bad reputation it has across the country. And that’s difficult to overcome. Many of those people are in power in lots of churches.
What we must all remember is that church is not a game. It’s not a charitable civic club. The church is “Jesus on earth”. You and I are Jesus on earth. Your hands are His hands. Your feet are His feet. Your voice is His voice. And we need to start acting like it. When people see you, they judge Him. When we don’t love our neighbors, don’t open Jesus’ social hall and community room to strangers, when we don’t show kindness, nobody’s going to “buy” it when we tell them about how awesome Jesus is.