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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Christ-like Thing

Chuck and Helen are friends of ours. Years ago I learned an important lesson from them as they told me about a particularly difficult situation they were in.

The small-membership church Chuck was serving was going through a cruel and nasty time. The members were not working out their disagreements openly. Instead, this unhealthy situation was marked by backbiting, criticism and general negativity. Lots of misplaced feelings were being directed at Chuck, Helen and the kids. And it was wearing them out.

I visited with them at their weariest. I felt so bad for them. Trying to empathize I inquired if they were “fixin’ to leave.” Their response was a lesson I never forgot.

Chuck and Helen said that no, they were not fixin’ to leave, but that they were fixin’ to increase their giving to the church from 12% to 16%, even though they did not know how they possibly could. To my astonished, “Why?” they answered, “We just have to find a way to love them more. And in our experience, our heart sometimes follows our giving.”

This is the lesson I learned: I can always love more. Love is what I am called to do. And, in Christ, love is what I am empowered to do.
Pastor, will you give more love to those you serve?
Church member, will you give more love to those among whom you serve?
It is the Christ-like thing.

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