What you glean from church in the long haul makes a difference

Radical, amazing, spectacular, fantastic and life-changing are words that describe the kind of experience for which so many are looking. Everyone wants a momentary breakthrough and an explosive weekend extravaganza.

It is the age we live in, and it is not any different in many churches and parachurch ministries.
If the meeting is not dynamic, we consider it a flop. If the numbers are not impressive we think we have failed.
So many jump from one experience to another, looking for that next big thing. No one wants to be an ordinary Joe. We want our kids to get into a “good” college, make a large salary and go to school to “get ahead.”
We would do just about anything to be on top… including stepping on others.
Maybe that desire is a sign of our times, but I rather think it’s a part of our sin nature that is only exacerbated by our times.
The disciples of Jesus had the same problem: “a dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.” Jesus answered that kings lord over others as benefactors, but not so with you. “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. Furthermore, He reminded them: I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:24-27.
We even read the Bible as if it were only a book of heroes. Moses was the great leader. Joshua was the mighty conqueror. Daniel is the one we dare to emulate as the song says (dare to be Daniel). David was a mighty warrior. Noah becomes heroic.
Well and good. These men were greatly used of God … and that is just the point. They were men. All of them fell to sin in a most disappointing way. Their purpose was to point us to Jesus.
No man, however greatly used of God, is without the need of the Savior to serve them. Men fail. Let us not forget that even the best men fail.
Still, God uses them … sometimes in a great and visible way. But they are men of like passions as us, just flesh and bone. They are common and ordinary.
Their mighty deeds are the evidence of an extraordinary God. We meet that God through the One who never sinned. That One is Jesus.
There is nothing wrong with being ordinary. Ordinary does not imply mediocrity. One can be excellent and still be ordinary. Thrill seekers seldom, if ever, accomplish anything. Thrill seekers never stay in one place long enough to benefit from the ministry.
You can uproot and replant a fruit tree every year or so and keep it alive, but it will never bear fruit. Thrill seekers love to be entertained but run away when they no longer “enjoy” the show.
Personal growth does not come to us in a single meeting. It takes a long time to develop spiritual maturity, just as it takes a long time to develop physical maturity.
When folks discuss what they get out of the service at church, they betray their quick fix mentality. So what if some of the church services do not “grab” you?
What you glean from the long haul, the fellowship over months and years, several series of sermons and steadfast commitment to Biblical training will make a difference in your life.
Be just one of the members of your church family. If God chooses to do something marvelous in you, so be it. But remember, not many mighty and not many noble are called. God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. We are even told to not just go to church, but “be the church.”
That is impossible and absurd. You can only be right with God and available for Him. Beyond that, you dare not go. Be an ordinary saved sinner. Let God choose whom to exalt and when to exalt him.

Olen Evans First Baptist Church Brownstown

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