Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wisdom from Willard

Dallas Willard wrote a great book a while back that I read for school called "The Spirit of the Disciplines." I am currently listening to him on He just said something really profound. He said (in effect) "no Christian should spend any amount of time worrying about the longevity of any local church." John Ortberg, who was interviewing him, asked him to repeat it just to make sure everyone got that. He said, Jesus Christ is building His Church, so we shouldn't waste time worrying about whether it will last or not - it will, and Jesus has it under control.

This struck me as so insightful. SO MANY PEOPLE are focused on their local church and whether or not it is growing, how it's doing financially, etc. That is not really what we're supposed to be focused on. We're supposed to be focused on being Jesus to the world - meeting the needs of those outside the church, reaching out, spreading the good news of the Gospel. When it all comes down to it, the longevity of any given church should have nothing to do with those other things. We should always be doing those things and spending our time thinking about them. Jesus is taking care of the Church.

Now, this is not to say that the Church isn't vital and important - it absolutely is. It was set up by Jesus, it is the bride of Christ, it is His Body. But it is not contained in a congregation or a building or a name. It is all of us, every Christian man and woman living and being that Body and working out the Gospel message in our lives and making a positive difference in the lives around us. That's what matters. We do that in part THROUGH the various functions of a church, but there is a distinction here that bears thinking about. Are we putting our time and energy in the right places? Are we letting God be in charge enough? Are we fighting the right battles - the ones that make an eternal difference?

Essentially his main message today is that we need to live out a radical trust in God. Don't worry about results, don't worry about anything really - trust it all to God. Let Him account for the numbers or whatever. It's about living deeply. It's about trusting deeply, and the freedom that comes along with it.

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