Thursday, August 14, 2008

Start A Trend

Brethren, pray for us. – 1 Thessalonians 5:25, NASB95

In Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness, Kathryn Greene-McCreight describes her tortured journey through ten years of extreme depression and bipolar disorder. Concerning the importance of Christian fellowship while in recovery, she writes:

This is why it is so important to worship in community—to ask your brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for you … Sometimes you literally cannot make it on your own, and you need to borrow from the faith of those around you. . . . Companionship in the Lord Jesus is powerful. – Kathyrn Greene-McCreight, Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness (Brazos Press, 2006), p. 88
Kathryn Greene-McCreight said a mouthful. Sometimes you really can’t make it on your own. Sometimes you just need someone to lean on, to help you bear the load of garbage you’ve been carrying, to just listen to your pain, to cry with you, and even get mad with you. It’s not always important that the other person or persons have all the answers. At times, we might not be ready for answers, so they would fall on deaf ears anyway. Sometimes we just need the company of another human being, willing to be there for us.

I believe this is one of the powerful things about the church that often goes unnoticed until you need it. “Why do I have to go to church all the time? What’s the harm if I just show up when I want to?” That seems to be the question on the minds of many. The answer is to see that such questions betray a serious misunderstanding about church. It’s really a self-centered and selfish attitude. There is a much better reason to be an active, thriving, involved, attending member of a local church. It’s so you can help others.

I’ve said for years that if everybody takes the view that they’re only going to get involved or attend church when they need to go, or when they want to get something out of it, then it’s impossible for anybody to benefit. Only when each member understands that the primary reason for church attendance and involvement is to provide something for another person will any of us ever find what we need.

It’s the self-less, others-centered, approach that sets the stage for any or all of us to benefit when we need it the most. When you’re doing fine, go to church and let your faith and strength be a crutch for somebody who is crumpling under the burdens of life. One day, you may be in their shoes and when you need the help, that very same person just might provide what you need.

Wouldn’t church be great if everybody there took a personal responsibility to make you feel loved, worthwhile, and blessed? Wouldn’t church be great if every time you went, the whole bunch took pains to find out how you’re doing and showed a sincere interest in you as a person? You want that to happen? Great, then the next time you go to church, you do that for everybody you see. If you keep waiting for the others to start, then you’re never going to have such a church experience. Praying is a good start. Go hug some necks and find out what’s going on. Love and appreciate people. You might start a trend. Wouldn’t that be great?

This is a CrossTies Devotional article
(C) Copyright 2008, Dr. Bill Denton