Pete was not impressed. Even as a young boy, an altar boy, he witnessed lay leaders doing church. A couple of men would do their turn at the readings during Mass religiously but all Pete would see was their bloodshot eyes. Repeatedly these men would follow a Saturday night binge with doing church on Sunday. Was church simply a check on one side of the ledger to offset an indiscretion on the other side of the ledger?
Doing church was not for Pete and he stayed clear of churches for a number of years. As a young father he decided to try again as he really wanted his kids to have a foundation for their faith beyond him. The very first Sunday back in church, the pastor’s words convicted Pete to accept responsibility for being the Church individually, in family and corporately.
Be the Church: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. … Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37, 39. “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25. Individually we are to live the gospel, to emulate Christ – In his book, Counter Culture, David Platt provides a picture for this as he challenges Christians to “work diligently, live simply, give sacrificially, help constructively, and invest eternally.” In family we are to lead by example because kids are more likely to catch what Dad’s got than to do as he says. Corporately we are to keep meeting together in order to encourage each other through the noise that is the world being the world.
Pete realized he had judged the church based on his perspective of a couple of lay leaders’ indiscretions. Worse, his stance was grounded in judgment of two men he had no right to judge. Furthermore, he had let them negatively influence his faith well into his adult life. By the grace of God, Pete met a pastor and a church that were bold enough to challenge him to be the Church individually, in family and corporately.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and Your call to be the Church. Forgive me for judging others that I have no right to judge. Equip me to live the gospel better today than yesterday; Grant me the boldness to lead spiritually by example in my family; and the confidence to stand together corporately to rebuke the forces that distract and discourage the Church. There is a generation in the balance and it is time to be Your Body in a confused world. Guide and strengthen Your Church one man, one family and one church at a time. Amen.
A faithful father strives to be the Church individually, in family and corporately.