Certainly, the concepts of sacrifice and duty seem odd to a culture that often asks, “What’s in it for me?” Even among God’s people, as it relates to loyalty and service to the local church of Christ, the attitude of “meet my needs or else…” is found far too often. Consumerism has had a profound effect upon Christendom and the church. When people begin to search for a church home seldom do they look for the place where the truth is prized and where they can do the most work and serve to the greatest degree.
Rather, like shopping for a new car, they go in search of what they consider to be the best deal. Does the congregation provide a good youth program? Is there manned nursery where the young ones can be dropped off should they become too unruly? Is there a singles class? Are there plenty of programs, classes, and fellowship opportunities? What time do you start? Is the preacher young or old? Does he preach lengthy sermons or short devotionals? The Christian consumer asks these questions as he goes about looking for a place that has the most perks. And, should he decide to settle down, the Lord forbid that he becomes the least bit dissatisfied, because if he does, then the search will begin again.
Some of the above questions are important as one begins to look for a local body of people with whom to worship (John 4:24). However, the questions mentioned that are valid should be secondary to others of greater importance. At his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy made the statement, “Ask not what your country can do for you—Ask what you can do for your country.” This idea is at the heart of what folks need to consider when they search for a congregational home. When looking for a place to settle down spiritually, one should ask himself the question, “Is this the place where I can do the most work, grow the most, and glorify God in the greatest way” (1 Cor. 10:31; 15:58; 2 Pet. 3:18).
With these thoughts in mind, do we ever ask the question, “What does my family owe the church?”
My family owes the church love and loyalty (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:11).
Shouldn’t we love the local body with whom we attend genuine love and allegiance? Even when difficult times come, rather than leaving for greener pastures, shouldn’t we be willing to stick around in order to be part of the solution to those difficulties?
My family owes the church service and hard work (Rom. 12:11; 1 Cor. 15:58). Shouldn’t my family serve as an example of service before others as we walk in the steps of Jesus (Mark 10:45; John 13:15)?
My family owes the church spiritual growth and godly living (1 Pet. 2:2; Titus 2:11-12).
Shouldn’t we be seen by our brethren and those in the community as a shining light for Christ (Mat. 5:13-16)?
My family owes the church future laborers and leaders.
My family needs to help pave the way through teaching, encouragement, and example the next generation of preachers, elders, and deacons, Bible class teachers and missionaries. Someone needs to be concerned about these matters. Shouldn’t it be my family?
Let us not focus primarily on what the church can do for us but what we can do for the church. It all starts with me and then my family. Let’s all think seriously along the lines of what our families owe the church of our Lord.
The Defender, Mt. Vernon Church of Christ Weekly Bulletin, July 29, 2018.