Father Chuck Files: It isn’t Easy Being the Church

Lyla, our grand-daughter, often visits and enjoys a meal with us. After the meal I will ask her to help with the dishes and
playfully tell her that she has to work for her meal. She takes great delight in helping and now I don’t even have to ask as she rushes to assist. I know it won’t be long until the allure will fade away. It happens to all of us, the longed for prize is what we want until we get it and find that it takes hard work to get there. Being successful takes hard work and dedication.

And I believe that we all want to be successful whether at work or in our relationships with others. What makes us successful in our spiritual lives? For the church it often means large attendance, many programs, inspiring worship, and excellent care for all. Certainly these are important as we seek to be faithful.

Is this really the final mark of success for the church? Many small churches are struggling with small membership, limited financial resources and with member’s that are aging and finding it difficult to keep pace with all the demands placed upon them. It’s hard to be the church, probably never has been easy but today we compete with so many other factors. Even Jesus struggled with the above mentioned criteria for success. And look what it got him for trying.

The example that Jesus offers us is one of always being in relationship with God and lowering ourselves to the needs of others in service of God. Love of God and love of others has always been the hallmark of our Christian faith. So, what does a successful spiritual life look like? I think it means being humble, seeking and working for our Lord. It means risking and yes, it even means facing failure. It means being faithful. As I said earlier, it isn’t easy being the church.


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