Friday, February 8, 2013

Are You Part of the Solution?

Albert Einstein's chalk board in the Museum at Oxford
He solved some important problems!
     One of the  adages that became prominent during the turbulent 1960's went like this:  "If you are not part of the solution, you must be part of the problem."  There was wisdom in that statement even for those of us in the Body of believers called the church.  How often do we or others complain about things they would like to change in their community of faith?   And just as often, folks go home and have roast "pastor" or elder for lunch attacking them in their leadership role.  In both cases, no real glory is given to God and the advancement of the kingdom is neglected.  It is easy to be an arm chair quarterback but its another thing to roll up our sleeves and get busy being part of the solution to those things we are concerned about.
     In my own life, I had been desirous to see our church continue and expand the traditional worship service.  For me, singing Psalms, scriptural hymns and saying the Apostle's Creed are a part of what makes up a meaningful time in the presence of God.  How could I advance this?  What possible influence could I have as a layman?  Well, a friend gave me a rare nudge for which I am very grateful.  She invited me to sing in the choir at Christmas time.  I resisted this offer as I didn't believe I had the time for such involvement, but I eventually agreed.  Each time I went to rehearsal, something began to happen in my heart.  I found  great joy in singing as a means of sharing the Gospel in song.  Following Christmas, I decided I would stay in the choir.  Not only was my joy in the Lord increasing with each rehearsal, but I also found a way to encourage others in the congregation.  Music is an important ministry, and participating in the traditional service gave me a way to invest myself in something that is important to me.  I found a way to be part of the solution rather than a problem in the congregation.
     When it comes to church leadership, we all have our ideas as to what we want and expect.  However, the true measure of a Christian who desires to be a part of the solution is our prayer life.  Rather than criticize a decision made by a church leader or pastor, we need to pray for them daily.  We are commanded to pray without ceasing and especially for those in authority over us.  When we pray, two things happen.  First, God changes our heart attitude towards those we pray for and secondly, God moves in the lives of others much more easily than we could ever do.  He is sovereign and we are not.    He has access to the hearts of our leaders but we do not.  Therefore, prayer is the key to unlocking the power of His Spirit.
     Paul called for unity, harmony and brotherly love to be demonstrated in the body of believers.  If we live this way, others will listen to our "solution" to life's emptiness.  However, if we gossip, act divisively and create hard feelings, we do the devil's bidding.  Paul writes this to the believers in Thessalonica:  "Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.  But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one" (1 Thess. 4:9-12).
     If we want to glorify God and bring about positive change, then we need to take action.  Join the choir, become active in a committee of the church that visits nursing homes, join a Bible study, or start a
ministry to meet needs not now being met.  There is much we can do in a positive way that yields fruit rather than the bitter, complaining person who folds their arms and remains a part of the problem.  May God use us to be a blessing in our church and to our leaders.  He is sovereign and we can trust Him to lead us to be a part of the solution for His glory!  Selah!

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons and Decltype.

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