Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lessons from a Funeral

I had never before seen anyone wear a bandana to a funeral service. Yesterday, I saw at least three dozen doing so at the same service. Our church hosted a funeral service for a young man who did not have a church home. Most of his family and friends who came to the service were not “church folk."

Can I admit to you here that some of my first thoughts were “Don’t these people know how to dress and act at a funeral service?” and “Haven’t they been in church before?”

I hope I caught myself before anyone noticed such thoughts in my eyes, because as soon as I thought such thoughts I was confronted with the real truth of the Gospel.

My goal, our calling as Christians, is not to make other people look and talk like us. Our goal and calling is to help one another look and talk more like Jesus. Before I could look down my nose at anyone for not knowing how to play church, God was already convicting me for thinking it was about how to play church.

I am regularly reminded that Jesus spent a great deal of his time among those who were not only not “church folk,” but who had little or nothing to do with the religious institutions of his day. Jesus went to them, befriended them, and loved them; he didn’t buy a building and open the doors hoping they would come to him.

In fact, when I read the Gospels, I am confronted by the fact that Jesus has harsh words of correction and judgment for the religious people, not for those who have little or nothing to do with religion.

It isn’t that Jesus is not about lifestyle. It is that Jesus is not about my lifestyle. I need to continue to learn to be about Jesus’ lifestyle.


At 6:42 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Exceptional piece, Steve! I'm afraid I catch myself doing the very same things. As a preacher in "hiatus", I even do this very thing to the pastor of the church where my family and I attend. Heaven help us all!


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