3/29/16 Martin about 25
Want a fast way to learn patience? Attend your local church! And it’s not just patience – we can learn how to respond graciously to people who are quick to anger, stubborn, self-centered, arrogant, and lazy – you name it, we have it! And they are there for a reason – not just because they are “Under Construction” but because we are too – and what better place to grow our own faith and character than in a local church around people we choose to love but don’t necessarily like! People who, like a difficult family member, we can’t just walk away from but must rub elbows with. These are people who exercise our faith, and like a muscle our faith needs exercise too or it will atrophy and die.
This is what I told Martin, 25, with whom I began an outreach conversation with at the park today, only to find out I had already reached out to him about a year ago. Since then he has tried to grow in his faith, even visiting my church without my knowing, but has not attended church consistently and has not grown in his faith consistently either. We get what we put into it. It’s not just the Bible teaching at church that helps our faith to grow – we can easily download sermons if we want – but it’s the relationships that bring us out of our comfort zones and help our faith to grow. Martin had said that he just didn’t feel comfortable attending church, that he prefers to read his Bible on his own, so I explained how Peter was the only disciple who stepped out of the boat in the Sea of Galilee to walk on water just as Jesus did – and Peter was the one whom Jesus referred to as a Rock of faith.
For Martin, going to church would be a step out of his comfort zone and an exercise of faith, but what about the rest of us who have become comfortable attending church? Maybe our next step out of our comfort zone needs to be a step out of the church and into the world to share our faith! If we do we will find people like Martin who might just respond to our steps of faith with a step of faith of their own!