God Is Still God
NO MATTER WHERE WE HAVE BEEN – No matter where we are now – it is where we are going that matters more. We can’t change the past. Things will never be the way they once were, like it or not. Our Present is squeezed by so many outside forces that are beyond our control, but it is Tomorrow that we can plan for.
As I have grown older I realize that it is the plans for the Big Things that tend to fall apart the quickest. The small things – those seemingly insignificant things are what propel us forward. These are the things that we can control.
This past weekend we attended a meeting of the Congregational Churches that are in Illinois and Indiana and there was much discussion about the Past, Present, and Future. Voices bemoaned the fact that churches everywhere, regardless of denomination, are facing tough times. And the realization that things will never be what they once were began to take root.
While the Pastors discussed and debated, I sat off by myself, taking it in and seeing how that all worked just as well for me as an individual. If I want the Big Things to happen I need to take care of my small things.
For the Churches it means forgetting the Grandiose Programs and taking care of a very short list of activities: Worship, Prayer, Communication, Missions, and Fellowship. These are Churchwide actions, but they are also things for the individual. And, as I see it, they are all intertwined to the point where they are almost indistinguishable from one another. And they could easily all be put under the heading of Worship. Let me give you one example of something that happened to me last week.
Our congregation sets up our Christmas Tree in October every year, but instead of glittering balls and tinsel, we decorate it with hats, scarves, and gloves. Come November we take the hats and other items to a local community center for distribution to the kids that they serve. Last week I went to our new Super Mega Store to pick up some gloves for the tree. As I was checking out the clerk looked at the pile of gloves and then at me. Her face said, “How many kids do you have?”
I spoke up and explained about our tree and what the gloves were for. She paused, and then asked me, “If I wanted to donate some gloves or hats where would I take them?” I told her where we were and that her gifts would be truly appreciated. “When would be a good time for me to bring them to the church?”
“Well, Sunday morning would be good. We’re always there then.”
I haven’t seen her yet. I may never see her, but that doesn’t matter. She might come by or she might donate to another church or a charity that serves those who need a pair of gloves or a warm hat. She might not even do that much, but she will think about it. All I did was plant a seed. I hadn’t planned on doing that. It just happened that I was in the right place at the right time to do something small that might have a “Big Thing” impact on someone’s life.
Something like that chance encounter, in my mind, falls into each and every one of those categories that the Pastors feel need to be done on the Church level as well.
Worship. Prayer. Communication. Missions. Fellowship.
Big Church. Little Church. God is still God.