I mentioned earlier this week that my family and I visited a local county fair. Along with the expected rides, food and agricultural events this particular fair had a lot of information booths set up. The political parties were there. The people who plan parties were there. Representatives selling products from one end of the spectrum to the other were there. Several different organizations were also there. And among those organizations there were several groups representing the religious world. Multiple groups with a wide range of beliefs and teachings concerning the Bible. Unfortunately there was one “group” that I couldn’t find. Unfortunately again, I believe it may be indicative of a common mindset among this particular group.
Now I want to quickly clarify that there was one short stretch of booths on a back row that we did not walk down so it’s possible that I may have overlooked or didn’t notice this particular group, and I would be happy to find out that this was the case. But I didn’t hear otherwise from anyone else who attended the same local fair. And even if I did overlook them what I am about to say is still a glove that would fit many hands, or the lack-there-of.
So anyways, the group that was seemingly M.I.A. among the multiple religiously themed groups was the churches of Christ. Now you might be thinking there may be multiple good reasons for why this was so. And you may be right, but let me first give you some of the reasons that I know it wasn’t if in fact
they we weren’t there. You see, I haven’t visited or even seen them all but there are supposed to be in the neighborhood of some 40 congregations of the churches of Christ in this particular county. Yes, that’s a 4 and a 0! That fact alone should take care of any man/woman power that was needed. That fact alone should take care of any financial support that was needed. That fact alone should take care of any reason that I can think of as to why there wasn’t, if there wasn’t, any members of the churches of Christ to help represent and spread the truth of Jesus and His gospel among all of the religiously themed booths that were eager and happy to be there.
That’s why I believe that the answer to many of the frustrations that we experience as a whole when it comes to numerical growth is found in the underlying issue of laziness. Nothing but old-fashioned spiritual laziness. Ah, but there’s the issue of time, you say? Yes I understand that time is valuable. I am a husband and a father. I work a regular 40 hour job every week. And I serve my home congregation as one of the preachers and deacons. Do you know what that takes? It takes time and it takes energy. And I have to make both of them for all of what I do. And I am no different that anyone else.
I am not saying what I am saying because I am an “expert” or an “old professional” at evangelism, outreach efforts, Bible studies or even preaching sermons. I have plenty of room to grow across the board and I know it; so this is no Matthew 7:1-5 moment. But I am saying what I am saying because it bothers me when I hear people preach Mark 16:15-16 but they won’t even take it to the “county fair” down the road. It bothers me when I hear preaching that is directed at the world when it should be directed at the church. It bothers me when I hear preaching that is directed at the church when it should be directed at the world. And it bothers me when I hear people complain of having no fish but they haven’t thrown out any nets in years!
So there’s the beef – now I guess it’s time to go get my net.
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.” (Matthew 25:26-28 – NKJV)