I hope the title of this blog made you squirm a bit. I know I did. Do you know what? I believe the Church needs to squirm a bit. In fact, I think it needs to squirm a whole lot. You see, when we squirm, it means we recognize that our weaknesses, our problems and when we identify and admit that we do fall short of what God expects out of us, we can do something about it.
When I learned of a cancer growing within my body, I had a couple of options:
I could deny it, pretend it wasn't there and so of course, do nothing.
I could admit that I had a disease, go under the knife and get it cut out of me and then take radical and often painful steps to try to ensure that all traces of cancer was eradicated.
I chose option #2. My oncologist later told me that if I had chosen option #1, my life expectancy would have been two years. I am now four years out from my diagnosis.
There is a disease within the Church which I think we need to stop denying. We don't want to give... we only want to receive. Our hearts have turned cold toward others. We say things like, "Helping others is not my particular gift or calling."
Oops... actually we don't quite say it like that. After all, that would make us sounds sort of mean and selfish, right? That might tarnish our image a bit and we can't have that now, can we? We say it more like this:
Sigh softly and make your eyes look sad and soulful.
Oh, I wish I could do something but it is just... it is just not my gift.
Shake your head slowly and regretfully. If possible, squeeze out a tear or two in order to emphasize your deep sorrow that God withheld such a wonderful gift from you.
The theme heard in so many churches today is about what you can receive from God. If anything is about giving, it is not about giving to others, it is about giving in order to line the church coffers so that they can build a bigger and more elaborate church building or feed people halfway around the world while people at the other end of town dig through garbage cans looking for food. Something is wrong with this picture, folks.
No, I am not against churches giving to missions abroad nor am I against churches keeping their buildings in good repair or building an addition because they have a growing congregation. There is something wrong, however, when all of our giving never reaches out into our community.
We love to talk about what we can receive. Do we love to talk about what we can give? Often when we thinking about giving, we think about money. Granted, often money is necessary but I also think it is very easy to simply throw money at something and be done with it. Are we willing to give more than our money? Are we willing to give ourselves in service to others?
Our example is Jesus Christ. He gave the ultimate gift... Himself. If our Lord and Master freely gave of Himself, shouldn't we also be givers and not just receivers?