What matters

Like many other believers, I find myself getting caught up in the unimportant in church life.

What matters is my relationship with Jesus. Out of that flows a life that touches others for the kingdom of God.

It is easy to get passionate about peripheral things – whether we use worship bands or choirs or whether we change the church decor. In some churches, people leave over these things.

Like most people, I have my opinions on these matters. But I need to remind myself that Jesus did not concern himself with buildings or budgets. His focus was on people – their need for God.

I think of Jesus preaching to thousands outdoors without the help of a good sound system or worship band. I think of his healing people and miraculously feeding them.

I think of Paul travelling from city to city and talking to people in the street after being kicked out of synagogues. He was powerful because of his relationship to Christ – not because of a spectacular organization.

Yes, the apostles had to deal with disputes, some of them major such as the attempt to make new non-Jewish converts conform to Jewish practices.

It is true that the early Christians were just as human as we are. Paul had to rap them on the knuckles for such things as immorality, unloving treatment of fellow-believers, and petty personal clashes.

But no one could question where Paul’s heart lay. In Philippians 1:21, he said: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” His passion was Jesus – in this life and the next.

Typically, I get wrapped up in my own ministry efforts. Good as that may be, it often takes my mind away from my relationship with Christ.

When I take my eyes off Jesus, I am often judgemental. Jesus spoke out against that kind of behaviour.

In John 15, Jesus talks about himself as the vine and believers as the branches. He tells us that we cannot bear spiritual fruit apart from him.

In effect, he is telling me: “You are a channel of my love to others. Don’t let anything stand in the way of my love.”

The only way I can do that is to cling to Jesus.

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