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Several years ago, my wife and I were heavily involved in a small church in the Frostbite State. I was a member of the worship team (the band), and a member of the Leadership Team (church board) and several different committees. As part of the duties of those various roles, I was required to attend at least 3 different church leadership meetings every week.
For several months, I felt honored to be a part of the church’s leadership. But slowly, I noticed something that began to bother me. At first, it was like a quiet voice, somewhere deep in my heart (or my soul — I always get those two confused). I heard it, but I didn’t want to believe it, so I tried to ignore it.
But as time went on, and I attended more and more church leadership meetings, that quiet voice eventually grew into a loud shout, crying out that something was seriously wrong.
What it was telling me was that the only good reason to talk about the problems that people in the church were having was to motivate us into wanting to help them. Unless we put our “concern” into action, we’re not really concerned at all.
In other words, it’s very easy to get to a place where we talk about helping people (and we pray for them) instead of actually doing anything to help them.
So, for several weeks, I tried to steer each church leadership meeting discussion out of the “Here’s another hurting soul” phase of discussion into the “What are we going to do to help that person?” phase.
But every single time, my efforts hit a brick wall.
“Yeah, I know that’s a great idea.”
“Someone really should do that.”
“I wish I had time, but I’m way too busy.”
One day, I finally realized that all of the time that I spent in church leadership meetings talking about doing God’s work was actually preventing me from doing God’s work. Within a few days, I resigned from every one of my leadership roles — four or five committees and the Leadership Team — after telling them exactly what I’m telling you here.
And I began to spend a lot more time actually helping people instead of talking about helping people.
I wish I could say that the rest of the church leadership understood what I was doing. I wish I could tell you that they all heard the voice that I had heard — that we all started doing God’s work instead of talking about doing God’s work.
Unfortunately, none of those things ever happened.
But it’s been 19 years, there are still a lot of people around me who need help, and that same voice still speaks to me every day.
Can you hear it?
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