There are times when people see things in different ways. Not that one is right and the other wrong; the perspectives are just different. And that’s okay. The struggles and conflict we sometimes unnecessarily face are due to the fact that we are not always clear on our perspective, and not always clearly communicating our perspective. So, I thought I would share some thoughts about my thinking – about the church (not the church I serve, per se, but the church in general). I hope to do this from time to time. Today I begin with this: SIZE MATTERS.
Now, for many, that statement would involve the size of the congregation and the size of the budget and the size of the staff, etc. But that’s not what I mean. What I mean is the size of the commitment. What I mean is the size of our investment in the work.
Wait, that sounds like I’m talking budgets again. No. Investment in the church has to do with our investment in the life of God and our engagement with the Holy Spirit.
I think back to the early church: the followers of Jesus gathered in a room, waiting and praying as they had been instructed. While praying, the sound of a mighty wind filled the room and the Spirit, like tongues of fire, came upon every person. They were gathered and ready for God to do something – they didn’t know what it would be, but they were waiting for it anyway. They were highly invested in the life they had found in Jesus and they were ready for whatever would come next.
I think of another story, a bit later. Peter and John had been thrown in jail, and the people were praying. During the night God set Peter and John free. They returned back to the “church” – the gathered believers. They told their story of how God was at work, and then they prayed that God would continue to use them even in the face of persecution and difficulty. Suddenly the room shook and they were filled with the Holy Spirit – again.To ask God to use them even when facing real trouble, that’s commitment. That’s investment.
Jumping ahead a little further in the story, the church (the community of believers who met in homes and other places), was facing the challenge of growth. The “size” of the church was increasing as the gospel was being shared. Now the community had more people to care for than the leaders could manage. So, they sought out others to serve the needs of the community. This was their criteria:
Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task… (Acts 6:3)
They sought out persons who had invested in a godly life – good character, deep engagement with the Holy Spirit, and whose thinking was guided by the wisdom of God. The significance of their commitment mattered. The investment in their discipleship mattered. The depth of their connection with God mattered.
In the work of God’s people, in the work of the church – size matters. But it matters more in depth than breadth. The danger is to be a mile wide and an inch deep. The greatest work comes when we go deep and then grow strong. It is the harder work. It is the unseen work. It is the roots beneath the ground. But without strong roots that go deep, the fruit will not come to be. And, if it does, it will not be what it could be. The size of our spiritual investment matters. It is the harder work. But in the end, this will give us the strength to bring good news to the world. This will give us the life that stands the test of time. This will give us the witness that there is more to be found in life.
What is the SIZE of your faith? What is the DEPTH of your faith? How are you investing yourself in the life of the Holy Spirit and the life of the church?
I promise you this – the return on your investment will be blessings of joy and peace beyond your wildest dreams.
Holy high-five to you,