How would you complete that statement? There are several answers that could be given that would be correct because this church, as with every other one, has needs.
There are many good and wonderful things which we have going for us as we strive the serve the Lord, but there are also some shortcomings to be overcome so that we may move ahead boldly in glorifying Christ.
Sometimes, in answering the question of what a particular church needs most, the focus is on some leader or leaders in the congregation. “What this church needs ia a preacher who preaches in the style and manner of years gone by,” or perhaps, “What we need is a corps of personal workers who will really go after souls,” or “What this church needs are more aggressive elders who will lead boldly.” Given a particular congregation in a particular set of circumstances, any or all of these answers to a church’s needs may be true. And others answer could be given.
But one completion to the title of this article is very rarely heard these days. It is when a “normal member” of the church of either sex and of whatever age says this, “What the church here really needs is for ME to fully give MYSELF to the Lord and let Him utilize MY abilities to the fullest of the congregation.” How many think this way about their responsibility to the Lord and to this congregation?
Far too many fall into the trap of believing that OTHERS make the church or hold it back; OTHERS have all the talent to be used, money to be given, and responsibilities to be met. Not so! EACH PART OF THE BODY WORKING WITH ALL THE OTHER PARTS UNDER THE HEADSHIP OF CHRIST MAKE THE CHURCH GROW AND BECOME THE PEOPLE OF GOD (Ephesians 4:15-16). If you are a member of the body, you are a “part” with something to contribute to the growth of the church.
When I (we) are tempted to analyze the state of a congregation only in terms of what OTHERS should be doing to help, let’s take another look at OUR personal responsibilities to the local church and her work in the Lord. Maybe a new “me,” and a more committed “I” is what the church really needs the most!
The APOSTOLIC REFLECTOR (no date or author)
In Esther 4:14 Mordecai asked his cousin (his uncle’s daughter Esther 2:7) this question, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. YET WHO KNOWS WHETHER YOU HAVE COME TO THE KINGDOM FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS?
We often emphasize that it was God’s providence that saved the Jews during this time frame – but how many believers think it just happened – that “all the stars aligned” so Esther could have a hand in saving the Jews? We struggle mightily with God’s providence at times, and attribute things to luck or “good fortune.” But for the believer, we know it is God’s providence working behind the scenes.
THERE ARE EVIDENCES OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN THE LIFE OF MEN GENERALLY. Human life has a reason for existence. Consider great men (and, as above – a great woman) who were able to do great things for God and his people at a time when it was needed (see Hebrews 11). The Bible is a story of people – history is a story of what God and man has done, and the Bible tells us that it is God who intervened for the good of man time and again. God uses man to accomplish his purposes time and again throughout the Bible. We can spend hours talking about Moses, David, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and so many unnamed women. Consider how God used Babylon to punish Judah, Assyria was used to punish Israel, and God then used the Medes and Persians to defeat the Babylonians and allow his people to come back to the land of promise. God was working behind the scenes in all of these events.
PROVIDENCE SOMETIMES MAKES IT CLEAR WHAT GOD’S PURPOSE IS. In the case with Esther, Haman had deceived the king of Persia (Ahasuerus – also known as Xerxes I) into killing all the Jews just because he was “snubbed” by Mordecai. God knew of this and had prepared Esther to plead the case for the Jews before the king. The crisis was observed by God in the future, and he had the person in place for that moment in time. Opportunity availed itself, and it is clear what God had done in bringing about the solution.
AT SUCH TIMES THERE IS A SACRED RESPONSIBILITY. In the case with Esther, fear and distrust caused her to shrink from the opportunity to save her people, and Mordecai had to remind her that she may have been there for that purpose. All of us need to stop and consider the privilege of carrying out the divine will and know that he has put us here at this time to do his will. Indeed, it is an awesome privilege, and we must fulfill God’s will to the best of our ability. A word spoken at the right time, an action done at a precise moment, may make an ETERNAL difference in someone’s soul.
HOW CAN WE DISCERN THE OPPORTUNITIES SET BEFORE US? We need to realize that opportunities for doing good come to Christians in every place. We need to open our eyes for them. When we see them, do not tell, or ask someone else, to handle it – seize the opportunity YOU have to do good. Jesus saw the weak, the blind, lame, and poor – he did what he could. We should follow in his steps.
Opportunities given by God for serving him has a great effect on the performance of duty. We must understand that we do have duties, and we need to seize the opportunities God places before us.
The story of Esther continues with her resolve to do what she could. Imagine going in before the king and asking for something, not knowing if you will live or die. What did she request from the Jews? “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” (4:16). She prayed believing that God would help her. But if she died, that was God’s will as well. She did not consider, nor know, that God was using her for this – but she did what she must to save the Jews.
Are you willing to be used by God?
THE LOST CHILDREN!
A young lady was here last Wednesday morning at South Cobb, sitting in our parking lot, and looking at a cell phone. I thought at first that she was a student at South Cobb and was on her way to school. But she stayed here while school was in session.
I offered to help her in some way, but she refused, stating her mother was going to come and pick her up. She packed up what she had, put it on a baby stroller, and left. No one picked her up. It seemed that she had all the clothes and her belongings on her, and then left to go somewhere else.
It made me consider what was really going on. I considered how many young people are as this young lady. Perhaps out on their own, struggling to find shelter, having made decisions that may put her in danger.
(As a preacher, and a Christian man, I thought about so many scenarios that could have turned badly and may have caused some to question the church. As an example, what if I had taken her somewhere and then she accused me of inappropriate advances in some way or another. Yes, these things have happened before, and as an elder and a preacher I strive to watch ALL my interactions with women, because the church’s reputation will be judged by my actions, whether good or bad. Jesus traveled from place to place, and as far as we know, was never alone with a woman. Accusations may have been made about Jesus, his ministry, and his teaching, but that was one that was never made).
Are we throwing away our children in our society? Have we allowed society to dictate what should be taught, even if it is contrary to the word of God? Societies teach through media, ads, schools . . . in any and every way they can and they attack the principles of right and wrong, good and evil, as clearly set forth in God’s word. The history of the Bible has shown that when it came to standing for God’s way and standards, God’s own people did not obey nor stay faithful to His word. Can we really trust society to rear our children to be productive members, or not? What has the last few years taught us about school systems teaching our children? Are the standards being taught anywhere close to what God has taught in his word?
What about Christian homes? Do parents take their responsibilities seriously when it comes to teaching their children about wrong and right as revealed in God’s word? Have we brought them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4)?
Parents have responsibilities that one day they will have to answer to God for.
Church, let us pray for our parents, our children and God’s church. May we stand for right and wrong. May we help our families to live for Christ, to teach their children of Jesus, and may we all set the example that God would want for HIS glory.
And let us pray for the children, young teens and older teens, that are trying to make it in this world without the help of parents or family. Church – may we teach the gospel – the only hope man has, to all!