What Do You Want To Be? Day 4: Be Connected
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:5, ESV)
Go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matthew 9:13, ESV)
There are so many avenues for connection with others in our world today. We can interact on different social media sites in myriad ways. I find it ironic that in a society where the ability to stay connected is at our fingertips, loneliness is so commonplace. Even with the ability to stay connected, we often don’t follow through, and many people feel left out and alone. I want to focus on being truly connected in your local church and the impact that can have on your life and the lives of others.
When we have so many things going on, it’s easy to just go through the motions, and this can even creep into how we approach church. We check the box by showing up, sitting through the service, talking to some people afterward, and then leaving. Yet that isn’t the design the Lord laid out for the church. Romans 12 reads that we are “one body in Christ,” and as a body we need to interact with each other and be plugged in. Not being fully present affects the whole body, meaning the whole church. It may not seem like a big deal to be only partially present, but it’s as if a part of the body is missing. It’s convicting to think that our actions won’t just impact us, but will impact the church we are a part of.
Also, we can believe we are doing our part when we attend the services on Sunday and other Bible studies, and contribute by teaching Sunday school, preaching, or taking care of the building. All those things are wonderful—and needed—yet the attitude and motive in our heart makes a difference. If we are doing these things more from a sense of duty rather than a heart of obedience and service, we are missing the mark. The Lord specifically mentions that He desires “mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matt 9:13). He longs for our hearts more than our actions—and that’s a lesson I need to learn time and time again. I’m so thankful that He doesn’t turn us away and cast us out when we are stuck in this mindset. He gives us the chance to have our priorities reset when we come to Him and have our hearts cleansed.
A great “heart test” when we are present at church is what our minds dwell on while we are there in God’s presence. Are we consumed with thoughts of Him and overwhelmed with thankfulness to be in His presence and with His people? Or instead, are we thinking of what we will do after church—what we will eat for dinner, what our school or work week looks like, or fun plans we have coming up? Are we thinking negatively of other believers and of conflicts we may have with them, or trivial things like what time people showed up and what they’re wearing? If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all had times when these thoughts have crept into our minds during church, when instead our hearts should be focused on worship. When I remember that the presence of the Lord is there when we are gathered together, it convicts me when my mind is wandering.
I pray that we may all be challenged to be plugged in to the church we attend; what a beautiful thing it is when each believer has a true desire to be there to worship. Before we go each time, let’s take a moment out of our hectic schedules to be thankful for the opportunity to gather together. There are so many places in this world where people don’t have the freedom to meet together with other believers; we have the opportunity and privilege to do that each week. May this thought be centered in our minds, and may we come to church with overflowing love and thankfulness. When we approach it with this attitude, imagine the joy we will feel to preach, teach Sunday school, or even to clean the building. May the Lord awaken in each of us an excitement and the joy of being plugged in with HIS people.