Greener grass

by Stan Mitchell

“The more you read and observe about this politics thing, you got to admit that each party is worse than the other. The one that’s out always looks the best” (Will Rogers).

This is another version of the proverb “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Preachers change congregations because they feel they are taken for granted in the one they currently serve. Church members treat congregations like boutiques in a shopping mall: “If I don’t like this one, I’ll shop around till I find one that meets my wishes.” (You do realize that this is not possible on the mission field where a major metropolitan area might have only one congregation of God’s people, right?).

I hate the idea that we have reduced the principle of involvement in a congregation of God’s people to mild blackmail:

“If you don’t please me, I’ll take my talents to another congregation. Better live up to my expectations!”

I am not making a blanket statement; there will be times when members will find gross false teaching in a congregation, and after having endeavored to express their concerns for a period of time they make the sad decision to leave. I understand that.

But I hope we don’t treat our marital relationships that casually: “If you don’t please me, I’ll find a woman who will.” Now that I think about it, these days many do treat their marriages with that degree of off-handedness. How tragic!

Statistics prove that 100% of churches are comprised of…wait for it…human beings! Among those humans populating church pews on a Sunday morning would be you and me!

Paul painted the picture of the church, the bride of Christ, as bright and beautiful, prepared in such a way as to “present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”(Ephesians 5:26).

I am stunned by the dismissive manner in which some leave a family of God’s people for greener pastures. As a preacher I have had to leave congregations (I hope for worthy reasons). It has hurt every time to say goodbye to these congregations.

It’s interesting how the Lord’s view of his people differs from ours. We see a woman in a shabby dress, unkempt and worthy if our dismissal; God sees the bride of Christ, beautiful, blood bought and cherished.

I wonder whose view is the correct one?

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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