Is church really worth it?
From within the fish bowl, we pastors look out into the world; and it's, of course, a warped view. Everything is pulled, stretched, and bent out of its true shape. What church is and what church does (okay, okay: what church says) is so unlike we imagine the world to be.
So why bother? What brings you to the fellowship of Christ's body upon this earth? Hear how fantastic that sounds? I mean, who talks like that? In worldly terms, I try to imagine why anyone would give up one-half of their time away from work each week. Some give much more time than that: mowing, cleaning, gardening, teaching, leading, performing, managing, mentoring, couseling, caring, etc. And there's no pay. As a matter of fact, most of these very same people faithfully give money so that the church can pay bills and personnel--something like 10% of what they'll make and must survive on for the year. They must think church is worth it.
Funny thing about fish bowls: fish bowls make whatever's in the tank look bigger, clearer, and better than it looks on its own. Maybe that's it. What if all of this faithfulness is simply due to perception? Folks see church life as something bigger, clearer, and better from the outside than it looks and feels on the inside. Sure, it's tough in those times when we see all too well that the church is made up of sinners. But, I'm telling you, perception alone isn't strong enough to create a faithful church, like we experience week in and week out here at New Kirk Presbyterian.
Sinners make up the church, but Jesus Christ is the occupying force of the church. That's right. Don't wait on a miracle. Go be a part of the miracle that happens each time we gather around the gospel in worship or in fellowship of those who haven't called themselves together but whom have been gathered by the power and grace of God.
Is church really worth it? Thankfully, that was never left to you and me to decide. We are able (and must) ask ourselves that question each week because it has already been settled. "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins"(1 John 4.10). Even if we missed church, church has not missed us; and even if we don't get to church, thanks be to God in Jesus Christ, church has gotten to us.
Yes: that is worth it. That is so worth it.