Imagine, if you will…
You are in a bank standing at the counter, filling out a deposit slip. All of a sudden, armed men burst through the doors screaming, “Everybody get on the floor… This is a stick-up!!!”
As you drop to the floor terrified, you look over at a security guard who is standing about 6 feet away, seemingly quite indifferent.
“DO SOMETHING!!!” you frantically whisper.
“Oh, I’m not a security guard… I’m a security monitor,” he calmly explains. “I only notify people if there’s a robbery.”
You are dumbfounded. The person on the floor next to you is dumbfounded. Even the robbers themselves are visibly confused.
The security monitor continues, still collected and unwavering…
“There’s a robbery.”
That sounds funny, and for any of you who watch much TV, you know what I just described is a popular commercial by the company LifeLock.
While that commercial is quite humorous in its absurdity, it actually goes a long way to describe life in most churches. As the Pastor of the same church for almost 40 years (and others before that), I have seen it all, and I’ve seen this type of thing more often than I care to admit. People who attend the church. They are there for worship, maybe for Sunday School (or LifeGroups), they take advantage of the good will and resources that the church offers. And…
They criticize. Wow… do they criticize!
But the problem is, while they are there physically, their heart is not there. They are not invested in the life of the church. Sure, they may utilize what the church freely offers, however…
- They complain about the music and worship, because it is not their style, yet don’t use their talents to try to initiate positive change (play an instrument, join the choir, etc.).
- They complain about the manner in which the church spends its time, money, and resources, yet don’t tithe or give regularly.
- They complain about how kids act during the service, yet do nothing to try to mentor or sow into the life of the next generation (be a youth volunteer, work in children’s church or the nursery, etc.)
- They attend for years and stay on the fringes, but never invest their lives through time, energy, giving, or even membership.
They are the church monitors. They sit in the stands, but never participate on the field. They are quick to describe what everyone else is doing wrong, while offering no solutions. They are the armchair quarterbacks of Sunday morning, ready to pounce at the first sign of imperfection. Complaining is their modus operandi, and the fact they are criticizing something — anything — in most cases, simply means they have a pulse.
Abraham Lincoln once said…
He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help.
As a pastor, I am much more likely to listen to the concerns (and even criticisms) of a person who has proven themselves faithful to the Kingdom; someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty for the cause of Christ. Someone who I know voices concerns for the betterment of the body, not simply because they just like the sound of their own voice.
Think about what Paul told the Romans…
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to
offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—
this is your true and proper worship. ~ Romans 12:1
Jesus made clear what it takes to be one of His disciples…
“Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” ~ John 12:26
Jesus led by example, and invested His life for the redemption of humanity…
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” ~ Mark 10:45
For some, the cause of Christ has led to imprisonment and even death. However, for most of us, following Christ will — at worst — only lead to social discomfort or some form of inconvenience. It seems to me, in light of all Jesus gave for us, that we should be willing to give no less than all for Him.
Investing ourselves in the life of a church, His body.
Taking the time to be a part of the solution instead of just pointing out the problems.
Following His commands in giving and helping the poor and in need.
We have to get over ourselves. We have to look beyond the end of our own noses. We have to think, the next time we feel inconvenienced, that hanging on a cross was probably a pretty BIG inconvenience — especially for the Creator of the universe.
Put down your self-appointed title of monitor. Find a church, be a member, and get plugged in. Throw your time and resources into making a difference, in this world and the next.
To use a phrase from another commercial (for the Army)…
DON’T just “be all that YOU can be”…
Be all that He has called you to be, and can be through
His power and anointing.
Have a great week!