TEXT: Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV) 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
It’s a Sunday and I hope you’re looking at this devotion before, or after, church.
You do have a church, don’t you? I remember one lady who didn’t. Pam and I were shopping at a food store when we were approached by a cart which was so filled with stuff that we couldn’t see anybody pushing. Since we couldn’t see the driver, we assumed the driver couldn’t see us. We braced ourselves for impact. The juggernaut stopped a few inches away. That’s when the pilot, a lady whom I had never seen before, stepped out, pointed a finger at me and said, “I left your church."
Now, normally I would be deeply wounded by those words. I don’t know any pastor who wouldn’t be. I tried to lighten the moment by jokingly replying, “Ma’am, if it really is my church, you’ve made a wise decision. Indeed, if it’s my church, I’ll join you. Where shall we go?”
She ignored me and continued: "Don't you want to know why I left?" I didn’t have time to answer. She told me, “I left your church because you weren't meeting my needs". "But”, I stammered, “I don't ever remember meeting you, I know I have never talked to you. Who are you?
She told me she had been in church twice in the last two years, and ‘no, she and her family had never officially joined.’ Since her daughter was getting married next year and they needed a place for the performance, she had been ‘thinking about joining.’ Then the lady informed me that my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have her as a member had been lost because ‘I wasn’t meeting her needs.’
“You didn’t meet my needs.”
The church hears that a lot. That’s because very often, people, quite unrealistically, stumble through the church doors expecting to discover heaven has come to earth. What a disappointment it is for them to see that all church folks are not born into this world with halos, harps and wings super-glued to their shoulders.
No, we’re not perfect; but we have a Savior Who is. 20-centuries ago God’s perfect Son left heaven. When He was born in Bethlehem, He was the first perfect Person this sin-stricken world had seen since before the fall. As our Redeemer and Rescuer, Jesus’ life was marked by perfection.
Now I’m not entirely sure of what happened to the lady who left my church (without ever having joined it). And although I’m fairly sure she never found a perfect church, I pray she heard the Savior’s story and remained faithful to her perfect Lord.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, as Christians we pray that You will empower us to walk ever more closely to You. Grant that our lives may be lived in such a way as to point the lost to You. In the Savior’s Name I ask it. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. It is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html