Thursday, October 5, 2017

Celebrating Property Damage

Several years ago, I was part of a church that was considering doing a Vacation Bible School for the first time in several years. But as I led the church through a discussion about VBS, I discovered a pocket of resistance. The only space in the church that was big enough to host many of the activities was our sanctuary. But while the chairs were easily removable, people began to voice concern about the carpet. More than once I heard concerns that we might mess up the carpet for a whole year for the activities of a few days and that such a thing simply wasn't good stewardship. In the end, that church did not host a VBS that year.

When Jesus began his ministry and called the first disciples, he seemed to base his ministry out of Simon Peter's house in Capernaum. After a tour ministering in the smaller villages of the area, Jesus returned to Capernaum and picked up his ministry right where it had left off, healing people and casting out demons from Peter's living room. On one occasion, when the house was so crowded that no one could get in or out, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn't bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus (Mark 2:3-4, NLT). Jesus forgave the man's sin and then healed him so that he could pick up his mat and walk out under his own power. But what I find odd is that no mention is made of Peter's reaction to having a hole dug in his roof.

Sometimes ministry gets messy. Sometimes it costs us money or means we have a mess to clean up. Sometimes, bringing someone to Jesus means that more work is created for us, that we have someone else who needs to be discipled, someone else who needs instruction and encouragement. Sometimes ministry means we have more mouths to feed or that our worship times are disrupted by people who have never been in church before and don't know how to behave. Sometimes ministry means that people are so excited and enthusiastic that they get carried away and we have to deal with the consequences.

When we find ourselves in the midst of messy ministry, are we willing to look past the mess and rejoice that someone is being brought to Jesus? Are we willing to put up with extra work and repair property damage because it means someone's life has been changed by a relationship with Christ? Are we willing to be inconvenienced or spend some money we could have used elsewhere in order to meet a need in someone's life? Or is the carpet too important? Is the possibility of a stain or a hole more daunting than the possibility of someone coming to Christ is exciting? If Peter could deal with a hole in his roof without making a fuss, couldn't we handle a little mess of our own?

Signing God's Non-Disclosure Agreement

Suggested Reading: Romans 11:33-12:2 In the television series Stargate SG-1 , the United States Air Force controlled an alien device call...