Thursday, November 01, 2007

You Get Out of It--What You Put into It

How many times have you heard that phrase? I even hear it about church. Somebody will say that they just don't get anything out of church or that they can't get into church. And then somebody else will respond with that worn out phrase--"you get out of it what you put into it!"

Here's my take--"It's not about you!" We are not supposed to be going to church for we can get out of it. We are there to worship God. It is all about giving of ourselves and expecting nothing in return. We are to worship Him because He is worthy of our worship. It is not about the kind of music we like. It is not about the kind of preaching we like. It is not about the programs available for our kids or for ourselves. It is about God (Period)

I'm not saying that you won't come away without a blessing. It is the nature of God to bless those that come into His presence for worship.

Years ago there was a man at our church named Gil Mitchell. I used to wonder how much chewing gum Gil bought each week. Every Sunday he had enough gum to give a stick to every child that said "Hi" to Mr. Gil. You didn't have to ask Gil for gum. If you said good morning to him, he would respond with a "good morning, sweetie" (didn't matter if you were a boy or girl) and hand you a piece of chewing gum. If Gil was talking to another adult, the kids would wait patiently for him to finish. (Interrupting was not going to get you your gum any faster.) Often, Gil might keep right on talking as he reached into his pocket and handed out the gum. The kids would offer their quick thank you's and be on their way. For a kid at Hopedale Baptist Church, being in the presence of Gil Mitchell meant getting blessed with a stick of good ol' Wrigley's Doublemint.

I think that Gil has given us a wonderful picture of God. If we will honor Him with our worship; if we will acknowledge His presence; we will always come away with a blessing. If we can come without seeking His gifts (without seeking His hands) but rather seeking His face (His presence) then I believe that we will be truly blessed.

The next time that you go to church how about trying not to get anything out of it? Try not asking God for anything--not for yourself; not for somebody else. There will be another time for that. Come only to worship; only to give; only to honor the Creator; only to praise God. If you would care to share your encounter with Him, I'd love to hear about it.

John

3 comments:

Rich said...

Great analogy! I wish I would've been able to meet Gil.

Rich

Bilbo said...

Many years ago when I was in college, I served as a lector at the 10:00 Sunday Mass, and our campus pastor always liked me do a little "warm-up" of the crowd for him before the start of the service. He never told me what to say...he always maintained that God would make me say the right thing. One Sunday during Lent, I quoted a conversation I'd had with one of my friends, who said that instead of thinking about what to give up for Lent (as we'd been programmed to do), she tried to think of what else she could do for others. As it turned out, Father loved the intro and changed his sermon on the fly to work it into the message; my friend Lucy was thrilled to recognize her thoughts; and I've always tried to remember her comment...it's just the Golden Rule, after all.

Rich said...

John, of course you know that someone with the magical prowess such as yourself completely and utterly supercedes all of my previous comments about simple charlatans such as Uri Gellar. You need not worry, as I know that simple tricksters (such as Harry "I'm a Hack" Houdini and David "I Stole My Name from Mark Twain" Copperfield) pale in comparison to your expertise. You are the Master Magician, my friend... just because you don't have your own Las Vegas show doesn't mean that you are inferior to those who have much less psychic talent than yourself.


Hehehehehe... love ya, buddy!
Rich