We are in the middle of a message series at our Sunday worship gatherings on “Family.” We are taking a look at the family of Abraham and the covenant made by God as recorded in Genesis. This is a way for us to think about what it means to be called into a church community (family) today. Specifically, we have been paying attention to God’s purpose in establishing a covenant with Abraham and his descendants: That they would be a “blessing to all the nations.” We see this in the original call to Abraham and repeated numerous times afterward to various people. Here is a graphic that I borrowed as an illustration this past Sunday. Some people asked if I would post it here for reference. It can be found on “The Bible as it Is” blog.
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Too often concern for the status of the church tempts some to employ desperate measures to insure that the church will remain socially significant or at least have a majority of the population. But the church is not called to be significant or large. The church is called to be apostolic. Faithfulness, not numbers or status, should be the characteristic that shapes the witness of the church. Indeed it may well be the case in our time that God is unburdening the church so that we can again travel light.
I ran across this while reading Stanley Hauerwas’s commentary on Matthew 10 (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible). I’m preparing to preach on this text this week and I continue to find God affirming that the task ahead is about faithfulness. If I begin fall into the trap of thinking about success/failure rather than faithfulness then my focus begins to be more about me than about Jesus and his mission.
This is one of the more powerful videos that I have seen that illustrates what the church should be and shallow nature of what we often call “fellowship.” For me, watching it gave voice to the longing that I have often felt as a young man growing up in various churches.