Here’s a neat story called “A Growing Church” that was passed along to me in an email. The email originated with a brother named Dave Hart, but the illustration itself was marked as “Author Unknown” so I don’t have any other “credit” to pass along for it. Also, the word “bus fare” may be a little “dated” or “out-of-place” depending upon where you live but it can be updated or changed easily to make this a very applicable illustration for any congregation today when it comes to church growth and the importance of serving our brothers and sisters in the church:
An elder called on a member of the church for a social visit. The conversation turned to the work of the church. They talked of the progress that had been made and how the Lord had blessed their efforts through the past years. Yet both agreed that other things were needed.
“It seems to me,” said the member, “That the church is always needing something. Every time we meet, there is a plea for more giving and more workers.”
“You are right, my brother,” replied the elder. “The church is always needing something. I had a little boy who needed something. One week it was shoes, another clothes, then lunch money, bus fare, spending money. I thought he asked too much. He hasn’t asked for anything for years now. He quit needing anything from me. You see, he died one night. And there are times when I would give anything to hear him ask for something just once more. I realized after it was too late, how much happiness I found, even in his begging. Perhaps you have never missed the church. It has always been there when you needed it, and you have taken it for granted. Frankly I confess I did not know how little I did for my son until it was too late.
So it is with the church. As long as the church stands, it will have needs. When it quits needing something, it will be dead. A dead church cannot offer a living hope to a dying world. The church that has no needs fills none.”