The pastor was coming over to comfort the family in a difficult time, so the whole family worked hard on making the house presentable. He came in, they had a good time talking, and then the pastor realized that he had left his Bible in the car so he couldn’t share the Scripture verse that he could use to encourage the family during their troubles. He asked the lady of the house if she had a Bible he could use. The mother turned towards her son and said, “Honey, could you bring us the book that momma loves so much that we read from it every night please?” After searching, he came back a few minutes later with the TV Guide.
There seems to be a disconnect between “church behavior” and “normal behavior.” When we go to church, we walk carefully to make sure that no one sees us as we really are. We put on our “Sunday Go to Meetin’” clothes and our best behavior. Smiles hide the pains that we don’t want others to see. God forbid that anyone in the church know our hurts and pains! (And we hope that we can hide them from God, too.) Once our Sunday Service is finished, we breathe a sigh of relief and become ourselves once more. The world, which watches our behavior carefully to see how true we are to what we believe, sees us at our worst. The church, where people shouldn’t be judging us, sees us at our best. Perhaps these words of Paul ring through our heads. “Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15)
I am going to make a mind blowing statement here: Paul is not talking about our attitudes and behavior in our Sunday morning worship times when he mentions God’s household. The church of the living God is so much more than those four walls of worship. Paul is talking about who we are in all that we do. Whether I am at worship or I am trying to convince the person taking my order at a fast food restaurant, who can’t seem to get things right, I am present in God’s household. The church of the living God is not so much a place as a relationship with God, and with people He loves. Last I checked, each person we come into contact with is part of this world that God loves (John 3:16), the claims of “Men in Black” notwithstanding. That means that my conduct towards the restaurant worker, the cop who stops me for rolling through a stop sign because no one was coming, or the person who just cut me off in traffic is a reflection of my relationship with Christ. Our character is not revealed so much by our conduct towards others who are higher on the social scale as it is by our conduct towards those who are lower on the social scale. It is time for us to realize that “church” is not an hour on Sunday morning – that’s worship – it’s a lifestyle of walking with God in all that we do.
Francis Schaeffer asked the question “How Should We Then Live?” in a book back in the 70’s. It is a question we should ask ourselves daily. If Jesus Christ really is Lord of our Lives, what difference does it make? If Jesus Christ really does show us mercy and grace, how should we treat others who have wronged us? The original word we translate as “church” really means “the called out ones.” It is important to remember that as we go through our everyday life. Let others see the “called out” lifestyle in all we do.
Lord God – people need to see the church in me. Let my life reflect the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ I have received to all I meet. Help me to conduct myself properly in the household of God.