The Statue of David is perfect.
The Prisoners that line the hall leading to the Statue of David are not.
There is work to be done on them. Inside each block of half-chiseled rough stands a perfect statue waiting to emerge. All that each one needs is the sculptor to remove the clutter, the rubbish, anything that hides the perfect form. As Michelangelo saw David in the block of marble before he picked up the chisel, so God sees the beauty in each one of us. Chisel me, Lord, a little at a time, until I am the perfect me. (1)
What if everyone in church said that?
I attend a great church. The pastor is kind. The people are friendly. The music is awesome! But we are not yet perfect, we are still being chiseled into the beings God sees.
I’m guessing your church is the same way. Or maybe your church is perfect like the Statue of David. Let’s see…
In a perfect church pastors would:
– understand a churchgoer as well as God understands him.
– preach and/or teach so that a churchgoer can easily understand and comprehend any and all Biblical doctrine, theses, and principles needed to live a Godly, successful life here and be translated into Heaven when he expires.
– know that a churchgoer cannot remain attentive for a sixty-minute sermon, nor can he sit still for that long.
– live lives above reproach, and be a positive influence.
– never, ever get tired, frustrated, or angry.
– always be considerate, pleasant, and cheerful.
and the music leaders would:
– structure the musical presentations so the churchgoer worships, prays, is inspired to give tithes and offerings, dedicates himself to the mission field, and is strengthened every Sabbath.
– make sure the singers are always on-key, never forget the words, and worship.
– keep his or her own mind healthy by safeguarding against any and all negative influences coming from worldly music, social media, ungodly peers, and activities away from the church.
– arrive early, clean, well-dressed, with a Godly spirit, each Sabbath.
and each of the churchgoers would:
– easily understand, comprehend, and PRACTICE, any and all Biblical doctrine, theses, and principles needed to live a Godly, successful life here and be translated into Heaven when he expires.
– upon arriving at church, quickly and easily dismiss any social or emotional problem that may have occurred during the week, so he can focus on worship.
– bring a Bible, either hard-copy or electronic.
– always be willing to give when a need is presented.
– never gossip, even about prayer requests.
– always remain cheerful, cooperative, and excited about church.
I’m sure you could add to each list ideas that make church perfect for you. In reality though,there are no perfect pastors, music leaders, or churchgoers. God is not finished with us yet. And church can get a little messy with all the chipped pieces and dust flying around!
Let us focus on the beautiful aspects God has already fashioned, not on the unfinished parts. And certainly not on the dust and chipped pieces God has removed. Let the Holy Spirit blow them away.
By the marvelous grace of a perfect God, we are loved in spite of our unchiseled parts. And by this same grace, as we head toward perfection in Christ, we ought to support each other in prayer and offer understanding and consideration during the process.
“My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love! “(1 John 4:11-12 MSG)
(1) Paraphrased from Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst. (Zondervan, 2012)