In my experience, the Church serves many purposes in people’s lives. For some, church provides nurture and care through difficult times. For others, church is a place of friendship and fellowship. For still others, the church is a place of intellectual or artistic stimulation. For Jesus, however, the primary purpose of the church was very simple… Go and make disciples. If we aren’t doing this all the fellowship, nurture, and artistic stimulation in the world won’t make a bit of difference. Our primary task is to become vessels for the life changing Spirit of God. We are called to be a people God is not only using to reach out in love – but is also changing and transforming from the inside out.
Growing in the fullness of Christ is a never-ending task. The most consistently unhappy people I have known are people who refuse to be flexible – who refuse to acknowledge the fact that change is a real AND important part of the Christian life. It’s like the inflexible man who tried to end an argument about religion by saying, “We’re never going to convince each other; so you go on worshipping God in your way, and I’ll go on worshipping God in God’s way!”
Authentic faith is always alive and changing. It isn’t like walking up and shaking hands with God and then walking away. It’s more like taking God’s hand and then holding on for dear life. C.S. Lewis once compared the changes that take place in the life of a Christian to a homeowner who invited a carpenter into his house to do some minor repairs in one room. The only problem was that once the carpenter was in, he insisted on remodeling the whole house. The next thing the man knew, the carpenter was tearing out walls and adding rooms and making changes he would never even considered.
Sometimes God is a little like that pushy carpenter. Once we invite God to be a part of our lives, God sets to work on us – tearing out walls – patching up holes – building on rooms. God wants to use us; to come and make a home for himself in our lives. And that means, automatically, that we will need to adjust our lives to his. God is calling us to join him in changing the world.