Have you ever ordered something online only for it to arrive in the mail and be the wrong color or the wrong size? Perhaps a gift you had been sent was broken during transit or the package never arrived in the first place. Undoubtedly, we have all experienced one such horror story or another, or we know someone who has. This last fall, my wife and I received a wedding gift in the mail… around 15 months after our wedding date. Somehow it had gotten lost in the good ole’ system of the postal service. Needless to say, the feelings that come over us when we encounter such unexpectancies can greatly vary. From laughing at a comical inconvenience to having a total complete melt-down, we have difficulty coping with circumstances where we don’t get what we rightfully deserve.
Imagine with me that you’re looking for a local church and that after a few weeks of visiting a particular one, you begin to grow fond of it. Then IT happens, after the first month of fellowship the pastor takes you out for coffee and asks the probing question: “So, have you thought about becoming a member of this church?”
I find it interesting how people respond to such a question differently. There are those, often new believers, who honestly have no idea what that question means. Others are instantly interested in finding out how they can take this “next step.” Some, however, feel insulted and resist the idea of membership entirely, claiming that it is an unbiblical concept, simply a man-made system that leads to abuse and manipulation. Whatever reactions come into your mind when you hear this question greatly indicates your understanding of what church is all about. The following reasons are just a few of many others that I hope will help guide you to recognize the high priority that the Church must have on membership.
If I were to ask you to think of “the” environment, what comes to your mind? Flowers and trees? Fish and animals? Watersheds and seas? Mountains and plains? …Nature, right? When we talk about man’s environment in society, it can become easy to view it as a far-fetched, distant reality that we are only able to observe or experience when we “get away.” Still, its far-reaching fingers touch us all right where we live, prompting a myriad of theories and ideas as to how we relate with the world around us. Some view the earth as a vast animal playground. Others, as something to be exploited. There are even those who view man’s environment as something to worship, perhaps even as a maternal deity. You hear it all the time, people referring to “the” environment as “Mother Nature.” Amid all the hubbub of this “green-friendly” mentality, the question must be asked: is it appropriate for a Christian to think of their environment in such terms? While trying to answer that question certainly tends to open a can of worms in society, I think that focusing in on three biblical aspects of man’s connection to his environment provides the believer with stability when dealing with green issues. Relationship. Responsibility. Resourcefulness.
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