Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's "In Store" for the Church?

Php 2:20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know [Timothy’s] proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.
God’s Word compares the church to a body, in which each of us is to be a functioning, contributing part. Christ and the church are also parallel in some ways to a husband and wife. We are like a kingdom, a holy nation, and a royal priesthood. Could the church also be similar to a store? Who might we see when we shop, and what do they teach us?
First is the browser. He or she is “just looking,” maybe not even for anything in particular. The browser has no stake at all in the store but just stops in from time to time when it’s convenient. If the salesperson offers too much help, the browser may feel pushed and decide to leave. If the store should close, the browser feels no great loss.
Second is the customer. He wants or needs something, perhaps several things. He’s looking for good selection, low price, and solid value. If he finds all that at the store, he may make a purchase. If he does not he will move on.
Third is the employee. He punches a clock, does what he is paid to do, collects his pay, and leaves. He does not have to come early, stay late, or even enjoy what he does. He will likely stay at the store – unless and until another boss offers higher pay, better hours, or greater benefits. He has some degree of loyalty, but he may still be looking at options.
Fourth is the manager. He is in charge of tasks, people, and schedules. He has been with the store for a while. He has accepted more responsibility and received more rewards. He feels more loyal to the owner and the company. He may be on a clock, but he will come and work just about anytime he feels that work is required. He is trustworthy and reliable. However, if he becomes discouraged by difficult circumstances, daunting challenges, or demanding people … the owner will need to find a replacement.
Finally there is the owner. Unlike the others, his life is to a huge degree wrapped up in the success of the store. He is tireless in his efforts. He loses sleep, puts other things on hold, and invests all that he can in making the store the best it can be. His name, his character, and his reputation are all connected with the progress (or lack of it) that occurs.
What’s “in store” for the church? That depends. Who are you in the “store?” What is your role? Will you and I become more and more like that owner? Will we be genuine stake holders who invest ourselves and take personal responsibility for the church’s growth and effectiveness? Timothy was like that (Phil 2:20-22). Don’t you want to be, too? – Cory Collins

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