I have learned that the church belongs to God and that it is not my deal!
I failed for too many years with this one. For too many years I felt
so responsible for what people did and for what the church did. I
would often internally accept the blame for whatever went wrong because after
all, "I should have done something." At times, people in our church would make some really bad decisions and I would then second guess myself. I would wonder where I went wrong. "Maybe I should have been a better friend, taught more about this area of life, been a better minister, etc." Not good. My responsibility is to function as God has called me to function but I do not control the choices that others make regarding their obedience to Jesus.
From another angle, there are some of us who are so invested in what we are doing as ministers, longtime members of a congregation, church leaders, etc. that we almost act as if the congregation is ours instead of God’s. I suspect that if we truly believed that this was God’s deal and not our own that we would have less of a problem with arrogance and pride. Why would my head swell with such a sense of self-importance if this not even my church to begin with?
The church is God’s. The church belongs to God. We exist because of God. We are in God’s hands. We may have hopes and dreams for our congregation. Ultimately, however, these people belong to God.
I am to follow Jesus and live as a part of this community of believers. My task as a Christian leader is to follow Jesus and to use whatever gifts I have been given to build up the body of Christ. However, I need to remember that all of this still belongs to God. That can take an enormous weight off my shoulders. After all, this is a weight that really never belonged there in the first place. There is something very freeing about working hard, loving people, and then leaving all of this in God’s hands.
Can you think of ways in which you have taken responsibility for what should have been left to God? Why do you think so many of us do this?