I'm Just a Hearer

If you read nothing else today on my blog, please skip to the bottom and read the story about what happened to me yesterday. I wouldn't mind some advice if you have any.


What would we do if we were stranded on an island and had to survive on our own? I propose that we would just sit around and talk about the necessities of living. We would nominate a person to give us a great speech on the necessity of fresh water and how we can't live without it. We would have another teach us a lesson on the most effective ways to hunt. Others would develop a committee to make an outline for housing construction. Another would be appointed to be in charge of us singing songs about water, food, shelter, and other enjoyed elements of civilized society.

I know it sounds ludicrous. The sad thing is that church should sound just as ludicrous. In most realities we mimic the pathetic description I just gave of people on an island in our churches. We educate, educate, and educate, but we fail to love. The only reason what we do in church doesn't seem as ludicrous as the above island story is twofold.

First, I do not think that most churchgoers realize that their spiritual life is more important than their physical life. We might give lip service to the fact and be able to explain, but we don't live our lives as if that fact is a reality. We need to nourish ourselves spiritually even moreso than we nourish ourselves physically. We do that most effectively by joining Christ in his acts of love. It might seem radical, but the Scriptures are even more radical. We are given many examples that teach us we should be willing to give up our phsyical lives for spiritual truths.

Second, the sad state of unhealthiness in our churches is the norm. It would be a lot different if our communities were filled with healthy churches with just a few bad ones scattered here and there. However, the unhealthy church is the norm. We are filled with churches that can explain their pet theologies and doctrines, but they fail to live out their faith in loving their community. We are the Pharisees when our world needs Jesus.

We need to stop being mere hearers and start being doers. The world needs people who are willing to live out their faith together rather than just sit around and educate themselves about the facts of faith. The question we have to ask ourselves is, "How do we make our intellectual knowledge of our pet theologies and doctrines a spiritual reality to the world?"


Verses that relate to my thoughts:

James 1:@2-25

22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act
they will be blessed in their doing.

Luke 6:46-49

46 "Why do you call me "Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I tell you? 47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. 48 That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house."


Yesterday at church, while I was teaching the above lesson and we were dealing with how to apply it to our lives, I might've stirred up some trouble. I had a call on my answering machine from a parent of a few of the teens when I came home last night. I called back, but she was already in bed. I'm expecting her to call back today.

If I was to guess what the call was about, I would say the following.

As I said earlier, it was occured during the part of the lesson where we were trying to apply this teaching in a practical way to our lives. I asked, "How can we be a group of people that actually live out our faith together instead of just continuing the process of education?" We were brainstorming when I asked if anyone had planned on helping the new pastor move in. Lindsay and I had missed church two out of the last three weeks because of illness, so I was wondering if there was an announcement on the matter I had missed. Well, there wasn't, and it was intentional. I was informed by the teens that some of their parents had decided to help the new family move in, but they weren't informing anyone of it because they didn't want too many people involved. I was flabbergasted. And my initial reaction was to say the following, which was probably one of the main things that got me in trouble, "That is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard. It is individual Christianity taken to the max. When the whole church could be helping, just a few are because they think it is more convenient. We aren't given many opportunities to love as a church, but when we are given them, we need to make sure that we take them." I still believe what I said. I just shouldn't have aired it to the teens. I listened attentively to the announcements yeseterday hoping that I was misinformed. I wasn't. There was no announcement about helping the new pastor move in. I debated on announcing it myself and then saying I didn't have the details, but I figured that was inappropriate.

Then the conversation proceeded because of what I had said to the teens venting about how their parents are burnt out by having to do all the work in the church (mainly centering around the work of building the new building). I shared how I'm frustrated because I haven't been given opportunities to do work. No responsibility has ever been given to me except for teaching this class and preaching once in a while. They explained how I could be helping out at the church; however, the time slots for helping never worked out for me still being able to be a good father and still help out. They were usually scheduled to be done before the time that I had tucked Isaac to bed. They also do their work days on Saturday, which happens to be another day for me at work. Maybe I'm just making excuses, but that is why I haven't made my way out to the building.

For instance, today they are doing a project that I could easily help out on - applying wax to the floor. However, I have to go to Michigan for an allergy treatment, and after them I am exhausted. Also, it gives us an opportunity to see Lindsay's parents, so we usually stay the day up there. This made it so that I didn't volunteer to help out once again.

Now back to the story. I wasn't finished putting my foot in my mouth. I might've done it a little more. I believe what I said was true. I just wish I hadn't said it. They continued to share about their parent's frustrations with the building. I then shared, "The reason they might be frustrated with the building is that the building was never God's will. They are fighting an uphill battle. I've asked around about who had the vision for the building laid on their hearts, and nobody has ever said that they did. Nobody has ever said who did. But that is water under the bridge. We have the building now, and we need to make sure that we use it for the glory of God. It no longer matters whether the building was God's will or not. The question is now 'How do we glorify God with the building?'"

That is what I said yesterday. I probably should've never said it in the environment that I was in, but I do believe what I said is the truth. I just don't know how to deal with that and not break fences. Any ideas on how to mend the situation?

Watch out for the potholes.