the weblog of Alan Knox

Uninvolved and following…

Posted by on Jun 13, 2008 in blog links, love, service | 8 comments

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.


8 Comments

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  1. 6-13-2008

    Thanks for giving a heads up on this post. I am going to have to surf over and read other items.

    It is amazing to me how much time, energy and resources that we, as churches, drain out of individuals so that they “can’t” be in their community – making a difference.

    That, it should not be.

  2. 6-13-2008

    Jeff,

    Thanks for the comment. There have been times that I’ve “served God through doing church” so much that I missed opportunities or didn’t have time or resources to actually serve God when those opportunities presented themselves.

    -Alan

  3. 6-13-2008

    Alan,

    Thanks for the shout out!

  4. 6-13-2008

    Alan,

    Mary’s words remind me of another Mary (Luke 10:40-42).

    My regret is that the realization of the truth which Mary articulates so well, came to me many years ago, but I suppressed it until I ceased “official” ministry.

    And those of us entrusted with leadership think it was only Jesus who was tempted with heights of grandeur! (Matt.4)

  5. 6-13-2008

    Mary,

    Thank you for the great post!

    Aussie John,

    God is using you greatly to influence many people to follow him. I am one of those that you are influencing. Thank you!

    -Alan

  6. 6-19-2008

    Alan -

    I thought of this post last night and wanted to comment. Last night one of our neighbors had an impromptu BBQ for some other neighbors who are leaving for 5 weeks (the husband is in the Navy). So they called and invited us over. It was our family, 2 other neighbor families, and a guy that lives next door (his wife was working).

    We’ve never gotten together socially with them before, we just let our kids all play together (all girls). It was a nice time to just hang out and get to know them all a little better. The first thing that I said when we got home was that if we had had “church” tonight we wouldn’t have been able to do that. Hmmmmm.

    If we had had church last night we would have been stuck inside the four walls. Trust me … these are people who darken the doors of those 4 walls – one of then even won’t let his kids go to church events. But we are able to just hang out and get to know them.

    One thing God I know that God is wanting to change in me is showing me how to love them like He loves them. When I was in bed last night I thought about how Jesus hung out with the same. I thought about how He loved them and I thought about how I need to be filled with such love.

    Well, this is turning into a long comment … I think I might have to just blog about it ;)

    Blessings!

  7. 6-19-2008

    I meant to say that these were all people who NEVER darken the doors of a church … I hate that you can’t edit blogger comments! :)

  8. 6-19-2008

    Heather,

    That’s a great example! Thank you.

    -Alan