Everything You Missed While Doing Your Own Thing
Birthdays, weddings and funerals. Three recurring events in most of our lives that bring families together. Unless you are like I was — which was wrapped up in my own life and had no desire to share my time with anyone else.
I missed the birth of my brothers children, friends weddings and the funerals of several members of my family while I was focused on my gambling addiction. In that season of my life, I would have much rather spent my time at a poker table surrounded by strangers than the dinner table surrounded by family.
I often thought that I would be missed, but that I wouldn’t be missing much. When I look back at photos from that time and see that there is no account of me at many of these family gatherings it becomes clear to me — I missed a out on a lot.
Time is our most valuable resource. We can never get it back. I can apologize for past mistakes, but can’t get in my Delorean and travel back in time to all of those moments that I missed. Christ taught me the value of family and being present with them. Today, I am thankful for the times I have family close by. I have learned to treasure the time we have together because we won’t be able to make it up.
The body of Christ is also a family that should learn to treasure our time together. At a family gathering, when you show up you will get to see everyone there and have opportunities to visit with one another. If you don’t show up, you may be missed but you are the one at this visitation who will miss out most. In addition, you may be waiting a long time if you sit in your own home expecting everyone else to come to you instead.
Family isn’t on your terms. You don’t pick who they are, how they act and who gets along. When God calls denominations together it won’t be on your terms either. Just like when you can’t force families conversation around thanksgiving dinner table.
I was once invited to Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house right after I became born again. On the door when myself and friends arrived was a sign on the door declaring, “There will be no talk about Jesus here tonight.” Even though the sign was read by everyone it was written because I had recently started talking non stop about Christ and how He changed my life. Ultimately, this sign caused a conversation about Jesus anyway that may be would have never happened in the first place if the host did not put the sign up to begin with.
The more you try and force behavior and set terms and limits, the more people will rebel against them. God first showed us this with the invention of the ten commandments. However, there are no real terms and limits with God because our relationship with Him is individual. Salvation comes through repentance not perfection. His relationship with each of us is different.
We speak act and talk differently around our friends and family like we talk and act differently around God. Yet, churches try to conform believers to talk to God and act around God in the same way all the time. I don’t have the same relationship with my friends that you have. I wouldn’t expect you to act like I do around them. I would expect you to be yourself. Your relationship with my friends is at a different level than mine. Same goes for our relationship with God. He has different levels of relationships going together at the same time with all of us. He doesn’t expect you to talk to Him like I do. He expects you to talk to Him like you do. Except maybe more often.
To bring the body of Christ together. We must all gather around the dinner table God has invited us to sit at. However, we can’t force expectations or surpass judgment on those sitting around us.
For some families, it might be easy to look at your little brother as a loser without a job, however, your mom still has a place for him at her table. In the same way, a church or a believer might look down on another like a younger ungodly brother, but God has also invited them to the table. And it is the same table He invited you to sit at! In fact, God has a better place for those who are able to humble themselves and sit where God asks them. (Luke 14:8)
Our relationship with Christ won’t improve while we ignore all the opportunities to visit with Him. Our churches won’t find revival if they are waiting for the unsaved to come to them. Believers won’t get all those missed services back. Your talents to serve in the way you were created to do so have a limited number of opportunities while on this Earth.
You won’t want to look at the photo albums God pulls out in Heaven to show you the lives of other believers gathered together and find you aren’t in any of the pictures. Good news is there is still time. Learn to value the time you have with family, other believers and, most importantly, Christ. Christ invites everyone, but not every accepts the invitation because they think they have better things to do.
There are no events with a better invitation to attend than the ones that God hands out.
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