I’ve probably driven a thousand rental cars. Well, maybe not quite that many but I spent a lot of years traveling in various ministry roles, and the rental car companies considered me a good customer.
But it just came to me that I never washed a rental car. I brought a lot of them back dirty…mud, snow, rain, bugs… You know, the typical. But I never once drove one through a car wash. Why was that?
I didn’t own it.
Actually, that’s pretty normal. If we don’t have an investment in something we are generally inclined to let somebody else take care of it. When our kids were growing up we nearly always lived among neighbors who had kids who were growing up. We cared for the neighbor kids but not in the same way we cared for our own. We kept our own kids clean, but not once did I ever give the neighbor kids a bath.
Interesting parallel with how some folks treat church. When things aren’t going well we generally see three options: (1) cop-out, (2) or criticize or (3) contribute.
A lady told me recently that when she comes to church she just doesn’t feel fed. As I see it, she has three choices – she can go church-shopping, she can exercise her skills as a resident critic, or she can ask God to show her how she can be part of the solution. If she sees herself as deeply committed to the Lord of the church and believes He brought her where she is so He can help her grow, she may choose to build a circle of prayer warriors around the preacher so out of his own growth he can bless his congregation. Let him look back one day and say, “I was really struggling while I was there, but I’ve never had as much prayer support as when I was in that church. It changed my ministry.”
Concerned there haven’t been many life transformations lately in your congregation and no baptisms last year or so far this year? OK, how recently have you brought an unbelieving neighbor? Or the couple you met at the market? Have you reached out to pray with that hurting colleague at the office?
God wants me to see my life as mission trip, always on the lookout for ways I can be part of His big dream. Ready to act like an owner, not a renter.
By Don Jacobsen