"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." Luke 6:46-49
I had a dream last night about building a house, and then woke up singing the children's song about the wise man who built his house upon the rock. I don't remember a lot of the details about the dream, but I do remember this much. I remember that there were a bunch of us from church, working together to build this house, and we had to really purpose to work together. When one person would have an idea, it didn't take long for someone to disagree. We really had to work hard in our minds to agree, and when all was said and done, the finished product was absolutely wonderful, and we were all glad that we had listened to each other.
So often I think we spend too much time trying to get our own points across. Or we get so focused on accomplishing our tasks that are in front of us- or even something as simple as we spend a lot of time focused on what our personal ministry should be within the church. I think every one has been there at one point or another- you're new to a church community, you decide it's going to be your new church home, so then you figure you've got to get involved. And then you spend time trying out this ministry or that ministry, trying to figure out a good fit for yourself. That's all great, and wonderful, but I think the danger here is that we get so focused on trying to find out personal fit, that we don't look up and see the big picture.
The big picture, the reason why we are all at church in the first place. We get so focused on getting up on Sunday morning, heading off to church where we spend our morning busy. We spend our time getting ready for our task, thinking about our task, doing our task, and then when we're done, we go home exhausted, but we didn't really spend our morning doing what we should have been doing. And that is simply worshiping God with a body of believers.
Having all the busy worker bees in the world isn't going to make a church great unless that church has a solid foundation. And that foundation is Christ, and the common goal of coming together on a regular basis to worship Him and praise Him. That needs to be the number one focus and the number one goal at all times. When our focus shifts, or our goals shift to focus on this program or that program, we're putting the body on an unstable foundation.
This is not rocket science at all. When we all come together on Sunday morning, with the common goal of simply worshiping Him, we're laying a foundation for anything else that God wants to do that day. Now, sometimes, that worship is done through an area of ministry. Teaching Sunday School is a very worshipful experience- if you keep your mind and your heart on Him. We need to remember the reasons we teach Sunday School- it's not to simply be busy in the church and it's not because we may have finally found our area of ministry. We teach Sunday School to worship God, and to share that worship with the little ones. We're not there to come up with the greatest and best craft project- although that can happen too. We're there to share the love of God with the littlest and most important members of the church. We're there to teach them how to focus on Him with all their little hearts too.
The church that puts God first is building on a rock solid foundation. When we stop thinking about ourselves, and focusing on trying to figure out where we should serve, God does His best work. When we focus on Him, and spend our time worshiping Him, instead of dwelling on ourselves, He will open the doors where HE wants us to be. Someone will come up to you and ask if you'd like to help with a particular project. Or you'll simply begin to feel a compassion towards a particular area of service or ministry. And God is good! He knows where you will do your absolute best- but we do our best work when we are able to work on solid foundations.
The foundation is Him. Without Him, everything we do is pointless. When it's all about us, it's pointless, and we may as well just stay home. But when we all work together, when we come together and worship together, the pieces fall into place right where they should be. So then we have a functioning body, where we all work together like clockwork.
Just as in my dream though, sometimes it can take a lot of energy and focus to work together. Division and conflict always try to squeeze their way in, but by keeping our focus on God, and particularly striving to work together, our goal will be realized. We can accomplish our task when we work together.
A church divided will not stand. A church divided is on a shaky foundation, but with a little focus and a lot of determination, that foundation can be re-laid. All it takes is God. Truly. All it takes is getting back to the whole reason why we are a body to begin with- and that is to worship Him with all our heart, soul and mind. And when we get back to that reality, when we get back to Him, everything else will fall into place exactly where it needs to be.
It's a change of heart that begins with one person. You. When you purpose to focus on Him, and make Him the center, you're laying your own personal foundation. And then when you come alongside a brother or sister in Christ who has also made Him their foundation, you can work together. And it's a wonderful cycle that goes from there. It starts with one, and then one by one, we all come together, and what happens is that we find ourselves part of a body with a common goal and the sky will be the limit for what we can accomplish together. The wise man built his house upon the rock- The Rock of Ages.