I love the church. And in case you forgot, that’s you.
You see, I often wonder what my love for you would look like if my circumstances were different. If I were married, had kids, made less or more money, worked crazy, long hours, had my own bigger dreams outside of what I believe God has sealed on my heart… How would that impact my involvement, my hope, my commitment, my love to the church—to you?
God and I talk a lot together, out loud, more so me than Him. I have shared my frustrations, telling Him if my circumstances were different, then I would be more effective in the Kingdom. I have even gone so far as to say that about you, too. If He would only change or motivate, then our church would be more effective for Him. I have had to repent for undermining not only our Creator but you. I am sincerely sorry for not loving or honoring you best as God is growing you and me to be. Because isn’t that the truth? Are we not all still growing, together?
There will always be something you and I are waiting for before we make a change. We may have the best intentions of waiting for certain circumstances before engaging, but then aren’t we missing out on experiencing Jesus, of experiencing faith in action? Isn’t faith the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Heb 11:1)? We say we want to see God working in our lives now. We say we want Him to redeem our circumstances. We say we want to live with Him in eternity. We say a lot. But what are we doing to live it out?
I love our church because I see families living it out. Do you know we have families who serve, feed and care for a dying woman they do not know? We have families who open their homes and hearts to celebrate lives of refugees who are without their own. We have families who give generously so nursing home residents and staff are not only physically fed but also spiritually fed. We have families who sacrifice precious time, countless hours, to know and meet the needs of our community—those in our gathering, in Morgantown and internationally. We have families committed to praying over you, over me. Families excited to celebrate and willing to grieve life with you. Powerful Kingdom work. I could keep going on and on about our family, people of all ages and stages, living Him out.
I’m reading through the Gospel right now with some of our women and am realizing how much Jesus speaks about time and the Kingdom of Heaven. He often tells us it is not yet time, or the time is near, or there will be a time when… because He knows us. He knows we are time-driven, time-sensitive and time-locked. I think He teaches so much on time so we can get over it. We can quit making excuses or limitations for whatever our circumstances are and instead, do what He is asking of us now.
He tells us a lot about the Kingdom of Heaven. How it too, is near and coming. Yet, somehow over the years, I have missed this important point. Jesus is talking with the church about the coming of the Kingdom, but He made it pretty clear – “The Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). Church, that’s you and me!
I love you because when I am with you. I see Immanuel. I get to be in the Kingdom now. And isn’t that what we’re all about? You inspire me to be more like Him. Together, we are an unstoppable force, one that goes outside the walls of our building because we are the church. Our lives exist outside the walls for a reason, and God will be made known. His perfect love completes us, not only for eternity, but for now (1 John 4:7-21).
What would it look like if you and I started living with the anticipation of being in God’s Kingdom now? What changes would we make? Maybe it has nothing to do with the changing of our circumstances, but rather the changing posture of our hearts?