In church we often miss the work of God because we unknowingly with good intentions prevent it.
There are a few moments in my ministry that I can see where God has opened my eyes to see things as He sees them. One of these times happened when I pastored in Oklahoma. There was a set of girls who attended our church on a regular basis. These two girls loved the church. Every time they could get there they would. For them to get to church, their older brother a teenager had to drive them.
This young man did not want to come. On any given Sunday you would find him sitting on the back row of the church passing the time waiting for the moment that church would end. All of that said, there were a few Sundays where I could tell this boy would be listening and digesting what I had said. Whether he knew it or not, this teenager was hearing the gospel.
My eye opening Sunday happened one week when this teenager walked into the church with a hat on. I know that a gentleman is supposed to remove his hat when he comes into a house of worship. In the events of this Sunday, this teenage boy who needed Jesus more than anything else went to find his spot on the back pew of our church. As the service started I could tell that a few people were VERY upset by this disruption of worship in our church.
After the service was over I heard it. These members communicated directly to me that there was no place for anyone who disregarded God like this boy. They told me that this hat prevented them from being able to see Jesus. They told me this lost teenage boy had to go.
That wasn’t all. One member decided to take care of this for himself. He marched straight up to the boy and vented how this boy was keeping all of these saved people from seeing Jesus. He told him that unless he straitened up He would not be welcome inside of our church.
That was the last I saw of this teenage boy in our church. We lost our ability to communicate the gospel to him over a hat.
Here is what God taught me in this eye opening moment, this teenage boy’s soul mattered more than a hat.
We as a church had the awesome opportunity to love and bring this teenager to Jesus Christ, but instead chose to love and worship rules that aren’t even in the Bible. We dishonored God in our work to honor God.
This past week on my blog I have talked a lot about the rules that we put together which keep people from seeing Jesus. I have seen when silly rules prevent gospel work. As you begin to prepare yourself for Sunday, ask yourself if you are so passionately following non scriptural rules that you are actually keeping people from seeing Jesus.
God gave one purpose to his church, to make disciples of anyone possible. In this we do whatever we can, denying ourselves what is comfortable so that a new person might trust in Jesus Christ.