Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Overcoming Our Tendencies

Featured Lectionary Scripture: James 2:1-17

What would the reaction of our congregation be if Kevin Durant attended worship?

As a perennial All-Star in the NBA and the key member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, I dare say that he would likely garner some attention.  At almost 7 feet tall, he would be noticeable if he entered our sanctuary (likely he would have to duck through the main entrance).

I would guess that many in our congregation would call me, asking me if he was going to return, excited about the possibility of worshiping regularly with this local giant.

However, if someone who was homeless attended, I might get a call but it would more likely be surrounding safety issues.  We wouldn't be so giddy about this possibility (which is actually much more likely).

As we consider both scenarios, it is human nature to seek after fame and fortune.  We might think of the benefits to our church such as the question, "What if he tithed?"  Would his presence attract other followers who would benefit from regular church attendance? There are lots of reasons why we might seek to pull in such an attractive prospect.

But this can be done to a lesser degree for anyone.  A medical doctor could be pursued for some of the same reasons.  If a wealthy person garners more attention than a poor person, is this any different than the selling of indulgences by the church in the middle ages?

As we consider the mission of the church, we often try to balance the needs of the membership versus the needs of the community at large.  A mission-minded model would say that the needs of the community outweigh the needs of the congregation because we are called by Christ to serve.  This becomes evident in our scripture for this week. As difficult as this question may be to answer, it remains important as a vision of what we could be.  Without it, we will never arrive.

In Christ,


Picture by By Keith Allison (Flickr: Kevin Durant) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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