By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
I love my church.
My prayer is that you could say the same. Gathering as one body, worshipping, praying, and fellowshipping together–there’s nothing like it. The longer I live, the more I realize that coming together with other believers on Sunday morning is essential. I need to go church to be encouraged and to encourage others, to sing praises to God, and be challenged by His Word.
We should love our church and the people in it!
But we must be careful to love it for the right reasons.
What do I mean? Let’s start with Scripture.
In Matthew 9, Jesus gets in trouble (as he tends to do a lot throughout the Gospels).
The Pharisees catch him having a meal in the home of Matthew, a tax collector. They weren’t just horrified that he was eating with Matthew, but many other sinners and rejects crowded around the table.
“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’” (Matthew 9:11).
As I read this passage, I began to wonder if we don’t sound like Pharisees sometimes in how we talk about church.
These were men that loved the Law. They loved being Jewish. They would even tell you that they loved God. But having a meal with prostitutes and tax collectors was just too much.
We love our church. We love the people in it. We love the people in our Sunday school class, the people that sit in our pew, the people we have coffee with us. But I worry that we can grow too comfortable. Like the Pharisees, we can love our church in such a way that excludes anything and anyone threatening to change it. We would rather maintain the status quo than invite in the rejects.
But we are called to mirror Christ, who sought out the outsiders and the sinners. He never wanted to grow comfortable with the people he accompanied. Instead, He was always inviting in the broken and unclean.
Truly loving your church means realizing that the church isn’t just for your sake. It’s for the sake of the world. Everything we do, from worship to Sunday School, to coffee and donuts, goes towards sharing the Gospel and life of Christ with our community.
And many times, that means never growing comfortable with seeing the same faces. That means never being okay with the same people in your small group. It means hoping and praying that the hurting, the broken, and the outcast will find their way into the doors of your church.
Because “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (v. 12).
Don’t be content with your church. Seek the sick and invite them in.