Monday, July 28, 2014

Called Give (1 of 3)

This week's posts, regarding Matthew 20.20-28, are the last in a series on church membership. Again, these posts (reflecting parts of my sermons) have been inspired, in part, by Thom Rainer's book, I am a Church Member (you can find out more here).

Today's post will serve as an introduction for the week by classifying most church members (and attenders) into one of three categories.

Group A – What Can I Get? – This group treats the time at church as entertainment. It is not something to truly be involved with, or in, but rather mild participation is ok. But the real action is up on the stage. We even call it a stage – and stages are where people perform. The people on stage are the "professionals" – they sing, they talk, they present, etc. And then, like with a show, we evaluate the performance based upon quality rather than truth. Did I get anything? Did I like it? Etc.

Group B – What am I Missing? “Good, But Not Enough” – Now we should always strive for better, but where does this go too far and tip the scales. This group is often active in the church, but often times for their benefit, not for others. It isn't always about others though...sometimes it is about God's blessings. Now I am not saying that is wrong. But we have to ask ourselves a serious question:

Do we want the blessings of God? Or do we want God?

I will come back to this at the end of the message. But sometimes our life, and our prayers focus much more on what God can (or dare I say SHOULD) give us, than a desire to simply rest in Him. We may not often say it out loud, but we know in our hearts this creeps into our thoughts.

Group C – What Can I Give? This is the group Jesus where Jesus wants us. Many are in this group quite often, but none of us are perfect, and we move back to Group B – perhaps out of jealousy, or that our holy ambition becomes selfish for a time. Some move all the way back to Group A and say, well, I have done my giving, now it is time to take!

The reality is that at times, we all may find ourselves in one group or another. But these groups aren't new to us...people have always treated God this way. And this week's passage focuses on one occurrence when the disciples were taught a great lesson – one which applies to disciples – church members – today as well.

In Part 2, each of the above groups (A, B, C) will be put into the context of Matthew 20.20-28. Finally, Part 3 will serve as a challenge to our attitude by examining a possible reason that James, John, and their mother approached Jesus with their bold request.

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