Monday, April 7, 2014
A Desire for the House of the Lord
You name it, I was there.
The funny thing about it is not how often we were there but the fact that I liked being there. Not only for services, but just in the building. I knew every inch of the church building where I grew up (even the places I was probably not supposed to go). I preferred practicing the piano there: it sounded better. I liked to curl up with one of the old books in the library.
Fast-forward. Now I'm an adult. My husband is a preacher. We are STILL at a church building multiple times a week (though not the same one where I grew up). I STILL can't imagine missing a service. When I have to stay home with a sick kid (as I did last Wednesday), my entire week feels wrong.
Unfortunately, some of that is just habit. I rarely leave a service thinking, "I wish we could live here." (Yes, I occasionally wished that as a child.)
Worse than that, I rarely leave wishing, "I hope Heaven is kind of like that."
What's the problem? Well, yes, there are things our church could do better. There are some spiritual battles that have knocked down our church and we did not simply bounce back. There's a bad economy and the winter was long and an old church building requires constant upkeep and there are always things that could be improved.
But those aren't the real problem. The problem is...me. I am the problem.
I focus on the negative. I forget the joy of my salvation. I grow weary in well doing. I get discouraged by the illusion that the wicked are prospering. I begin to think that the Truth is not enough.
Maybe you struggle with this too. When you see the sentence, "My church would be better if__________," you have no trouble filling in the blank. If the music were just... If only the preacher would... If we didn't have so many services... If we were only together more often... If the Sunday School curriculum were... If we could just have small groups... If we had this instead...
Some "divine discontent" is a good thing. We should always be striving to improve in our Christian walk. The status quo isn't good enough in Christian life. We can love better. We can obey quicker. We can strive for excellence in our programs and services. We can fix our eyes on Jesus instead of the world or even another church.
But the number one way to work on the inadequacies - real or perceived - of my church is: letting the Holy Spirit work on me. That's what will enable me to walk out of a Sunday night service thinking, "You know what would be good? If Heaven is something like this."
Check out Psalm 27 to see the above verses in context. The entire thing is incredibly encouraging.