Mary at “One Thing is Needed” has written one of the most exciting and encouraging posts that I’ve in a long time. The post is called “New Territory“. Mary describes how she now has time to actually live her life as a follower of Jesus – even within her own neighborhood – now that she has stopped finding her identity in her “involvement” in a local church organization. Here is part of what she says:
What’s so amazing about this? I’m quite certain that we would be writing a different family story if we were still so heavily involved in institutional church as we used to be. First of all, if we were still involved in IC, we would hardly be home. What, with staff meetings, worship practices, prayer meetings, weekend seminars, conferences, retreats, VBS, and the regular Sunday meeting, we wouldn’t really be home at all to meet our new neighbors anyway.
Honey, there are people living next door to us? Really? Huh, I had no idea. I always wondered who mowed their lawn.
We would be too busy sacrificially giving our time, energy, finances, gifts, and love to the Great IC to meet our neighbors or even be interested in their lives. When we were home, our curtains would be closed and every minute would be used for praying (ie: pretending we’re not home) or visiting with our believing friends. Who has time for anything else?
But now, we’re in new territory as a family. Our time, energy, finances, gifts, and love are available for those around us like they never were before. It’s exciting and a bit scary at the same time. Before, I would have already known the kids that my kids were playing with. Now, I have to actually get to know a family outside the four walls of a church building. That’s a bit of a stretch for an introverted, coming-out-of-the-church-bubble, paranoid mama such as myself.
Our family is making these same kinds of adjustments. What a joy to use “our time, energy, finances, gifts, and love” to impact people that God brings into our lives on a day-to-day basis! There is a huge difference between being committed to the programs and organization of an institution and following a living, breathing, working, loving God.