by Paula Harrington
The church bus rolled up to a neighborhood full of kids recently. Before I even saw the children I heard one of them yell, “The church people are here!”
It wasn’t the first time I have heard the designation. However, I have to admit that it bothers me only because it comes with a huge responsibility. And if we’re being honest, one that we’re not always that great at.
Church people should begin and end with love. They’ve made a commitment to their Savior out of love and strive to take that unending love into the world.
They feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned, take the Gospel into uncomfortable situations and unchartered territories. They’re not bashful about sharing it, and they’re unafraid to risk their lives for it.
Church people should have an interminable joy and not because they are a stranger to problems. They know grief well.
They’ve walked down broken roads, but they also have a happiness that comes from having a hope greater than the trials of this life. These kinds of people have been known to sing in prison & encourage others as they face their own executions.
Church people should be people of peace who refuse to give into drama. They should be so confident that their citizenship resides in Heaven that they’re not burdened down with the problems of our government, nor do they bow to treacherous leaders out of fear.
They boldly stand on the truth while honoring the rulers of their day, however malicious they may be.
Church people should know patience well. Their entire lives are filled with waiting for the promise of their returning King. Their peaceful spirits influence those with whom they work, live and worship.
Church people should be so kind that their little corners of the world are better because of them. They never miss an opportunity to treat others well and because of this attitude have been accused of turning their parts of the world upside down.
Church people are great at stirring up good works. They are bridge builders who are gentle in their actions and words.
When I heard those sweet kids use the term church people, I cringed because I thought of those shoes that I have a responsibility to fill and how many times I have failed.
I thought of the moments when I have been a stumbling block to a world searching for the truth. Moreover, there are the times when I have tried to deal with people and their messy lives on my own instead of taking them straight to the one who died for them.
And honestly, I don’t want to be known for a church regardless of how much I love her, I want to be known for a King who has risen and reigns. His reputation is in our hands. That isn’t a burden but a blessing that should definitely get our attention.
When people see you, who do they see? Is it a building on a corner or a city on a hill?