What does it mean to be a part of the “Family of God”?
Last night I got the news that no one wants to get. A childhood friend had died. After the shock of losing another friend passed, I tried to remember the last time we spoke. I grew up in church and Scouts with him, but we were never super close. He was a few years older than me but was always one of those who never made you feel like you were too young to belong. It seems like it was just yesterday we were at church and he was telling Cole that he would come to one of his ballgames.
The truth, though, is that I had not seen him since the Summer really. He was at church the night we went canvassing for VBS and he rode with me and Beth. Beth drove while we canvassed. He made fun of her driving and made sure she kept the radio turned up. We laughed, we smiled, we canvassed a rough part of the neighborhood and he talked to everyone he saw like they were part of his family. While others of us were cautious of which streets to go down and which houses to avoid, he went wherever he saw people. That is who he was, a friend to anyone he met. Earlier in the Summer, he took time to show Cole how to fish at our Sunday School picnic. Instead of socializing with the other adults there he went with my son to show him about fishing.
Last night, it occurred to me that I had not seen him at church in at least a month and not once had the thought crossed my mind to call and check in on him. How often as Christians do we overlook those we do not see? Sometimes the thoughts in my mind are like a rabbit down a hole and last night I chased this rabbit and when I got to the end of the hole it hit me – If we are called to be the “Family of God” then why are we not treating each other like family?
Family vs. Church Family
If a relative misses a family function we will call and check on them but when our siblings in Christ miss worship we don’t bat an eye. For me, it is time to address the question at the end of the rabbit hole. Why?
We ASSUME everything is okay:
When we see someone miss church, we immediately assume that everything is okay. They slept in, had a long weekend, are traveling, took a Sunday off, etc. There are a thousand and one reasonable and logical reasons they are not there. It is just one Sunday, I don’t want to bother them, I am sure they will be back next week. For me, this kind of attitude is what leads to months and months of not seeing someone and having no idea what happened.
Here is the deal, it might just be one Sunday, but it still doesn’t hurt to call and say hey we missed you this morning, I hope everything is okay.
We ASSUME someone else is calling:
Someone else will do it, right? I mean, I am sure the Pastor or maybe one of the deacons will call them this week so I don’t have to worry about it. What happens when we all think that this is the responsibility of someone else? We all do nothing, and then wonder what went wrong. Seriously though, what is the worst thing that can happen? You end up getting multiple phone calls to let you know that people love you and care enough to notice when you weren’t there. That does not seem so bad to me.
What if everything isn’t okay?
Honestly, what if they need something? Do I have the time to give them? What if they ask me for something? If I call them, then I might have to help them, and I don’t have time for that? I am just going to leave this one alone because I hope that I am the only one who has ever thought this way. If not, then know that you are not alone.
Sometimes, we are in such a hurry in our lives that we don’t stop and think about others. We make assumptions that everything is okay or that someone else will have time to call. Have you ever missed a Sunday at church and got that phone call? No, not the one from your grandma telling you that you shouldn’t miss church. The one from someone you barely know, who you never knew even noticed you at church, checking in to make sure everything was alright. Those are the phone calls that make you feel like a million dollars.
Time for Truth
The truth is that we as Christians have to do a better job of caring for each other. Not just saying that we do, but actually living it. If that means, I need to sacrifice some of my time or things to help someone else out then so be it. If that means you get 27 phone calls when you miss a Sunday, then so be it. Be thankful, that you have a church that cares, and you will probably find out that those phone calls are a pretty nice feeling when it is your turn to miss a Sunday.
Here is a bonus for you: The next time you notice that someone is not at church you can either talk about them or talk to them. As a Christian, I pray that I always choose the latter.