- Published: July 16, 2017 July 16, 2017
While sitting at a fast food restaurant, I discover their internet connection isn’t working properly. I need that connection to get some work done. It’s not too busy, so I walked to the counter and spoke to a young employee at the cash register, “I wonder if you knew your internet is down.” The reply I received seemed typical of our times, “I just got here.”
The response made me think of us, the church of Jesus Christ. When a visitor finds their way into our building, how are they received? If they ask a question, how do we respond? If they notice something out of kilter, something we’re so accustomed to we’ve stopped paying attention, and mention it, what is our attitude? Do we get defensive? If they ask for some information, perhaps directions, do we know how to answer?
Are we “typical,” or do we care enough to spend time with the answer and with the person?
Jesus met people in all walks of life in many different situations. We see him with the powerful and the faint-hearted, the merchant and the shepherd, the local and the foreigner. In every case, no matter the response, Jesus is present with them. He is attentive, responding to them as needed. Not always gracious, especially with leaders of the synagogue, He never ignores the people. Usually Jesus offers transparency about His thinking and the contents of His heart.
But then, Jesus looks at the heart! While our sight is limited to things like skin color, clothing, hair, or all the other modern exterior adornments. We cannot see into the heart! Most people lack much of an idea about their own hearts! We might know what we are thinking, but our hearts express things in a language we hardly speak. Emotionally, we know mad, sad, and glad. Theologically, most are all but illiterate.
The employee I spoke to might have been on the job a little while, but on this day they just arrived for their shift. They had no understanding of what transpired before their arrival that morning. Which they could have said! Instead, they ducked the question and let it go. Not good for business.
If someone came into this place, our gathering place, where the church worships God; Father, Son, and Spirit, could you answer a simple question? Where is the bathroom? The nursery? Do you have a Sunday School class or Small Group for me? Who is this Jesus the Preacher talks about? (Trust me, there are people in Ocilla, Georgia who have not heard much, if anything about Him) What is grace? What does it mean to be saved?
Most of us can’t say, “I just got here,” because we’ve been here for years. Unless, of course, it’s 11:01.