The Christian Sponge
Each week us church goers, like sponges, sit and soak up great teaching and preaching from professional and highly trained clergy, high quality Bible Study materials and devotionals, praise and worship music that moves us to experience God, and many, like me, listen to more great teaching and preaching through podcasting and conferences. Here’s the question: What’s next for the SPONGE after it’s has soaked? It SOURS and becomes unusable. Almost nothings more disgusting than a sour sponge. No one wants to pick it up, it stinks up the entire kitchen, and most of the time at our house we just throw them out.
As a Christian, I’ve had seasons of my life that can be described as SOUR. The sour Christian is sour toward others – nothing meets their standard, no sermon is good enough, they and their class or group or church are the only ones doing it right. No one wants to be around the sour Christian and he/she doesn’t really care to be around them. Being right matters more than being generous and graceful. (For a Biblical illustration of a Sour Christian see the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32 and watch for the Elder Brother).
What’s the remedy for keeping sponges from getting sour in the sink and in the church? A GOOD SQUEEZE. A good wringing out. With the sponge, by hand. But how is the Christian squeezed? Two ways:
1) Through Suffering – When I’ve lost a loved one, or experienced discouragement, or dealt with sickness, or faced financial struggles, or walked with others who’ve experienced these and worse, I have been squeezed. I have had to put to use all that I know about God and His word. That’s why God’s word tells us that there is great benefit to suffering. See James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5.
2) Through Serving – Don’t wait to be squeezed through suffering. Give yourself away and be emptied out through serving others. As we give ourselves away as Christians, we are allowing God to squeeze us and use what He’s placed in us for His good and glory. As we serve others, we experience more of God and the joy of being used by Him and He continually fills us.
In an effort to be intentional about the necessity of Christians to be serving, our church has made a part of our flow an opportunity for everyone to serve. Every time there is a fifth Sunday in a month we have Faith In Action Sunday. Instead of having church, we scatter throughout our community to BE the church in some of our communities neediest areas. This Sunday, January 30th, will be our first Faith In Action Sunday of 2011. Contact me if you’d like more info or need an avenue for God to squeeze you through giving yourself away.