A few weeks ago, I visited a chiropractor for some neck pain I was having. I haven’t been to one for years, so I decided to try someone local since I was starting fresh. During my adjustment, he asked me questions about what I do, and I shared about being a pastor at Christ Church. After I left, I didn’t think much of our conversation. However, when I went back this past week, he said, “Jeff, I asked some of my other patients if they knew about your church and everyone had incredible things to say. You guys have done food distribution, clothing drives, Easter Egg hunts, and just had an amazing event in the park? I didn’t realize your church was such a large part of the community.”
Several things struck me about his comment. First, in a time when our culture is turning increasingly against Christianity, it is amazing to me that people have positive things to say about our church. We as a church are very open about our beliefs about Jesus, the Bible, and all manner of things that can provoke hostility. And yet, as Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mat 5:16 ESV) By God’s grace, our light is shining through our good works. While this won’t prevent persecution, I think it will give people a different grid to think about when it comes to Christianity. Some people might be upset about what we believe, but they won’t be able to deny the good we do because of what we believe.
Second, I didn’t get comments like when we first started the church. Not because we weren’t doing good deeds. We did many different things to serve our community. However, it takes time to build a reputation. Do something for one to three years, and people will be grateful, but it is not that noticeable. But being in a place year after year allows each act of service to become another example of service that has a cumulative effect over time. Our culture is so transient, as everything is about the individual pursuing their career, their education, their individual goals, desires, and accomplishments. But to truly make an impact, we can’t think individually. We need to think about what we are building that is bigger than us and that will outlast us. Obviously, God calls some people to move on and we wish them well. But I am so grateful for those who have a commitment to rootedness that is allowing our church to continue to exist and thrive in this community. Hearing my chiropractor’s comment made me so grateful that people have decided to put down roots and give themselves to building our church in the community. If this is what God can do in seven years, then I am so excited for how God will use us as we give ourselves to decades of building His church in this place.
While I hope the Lord returns tomorrow, until He does come back, may we continue to give ourselves to loving others through sharing the good news and doing good deeds, so that we might continue to be known as a church that is a light in our community.
I love you Christ Church,