The best advice I’ve ever received on interviewing for the position of pastor at a church: “If you think you have finally found the perfect church, don’t take the job. It won’t be perfect anymore.”
While that might seem like a cynical take on the situation, it is actually very prescient. The church gathered is not the church of our ideals. Occasionally, I butt into the expectation that Sunday morning worship is supposed to be a homogenous holy do-gooders. Reality is much different.
One of the things I most appreciate about Jesus is how He deals with reality:
“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?”
‘An enemy did this’, he replied.
The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”
A church run along these lines makes most people wildly uncomfortable. When saints and sinners occupy the same pew, someone gets itchy feet. Jesus says, “Stick around. It might surprise you to find out ultimately who is who.”
So when you worship this weekend, consider those in whose presence you have gathered and consider that you might fit better than you think.
Lord, thank you for good seed. It is all grace.