I’ve always been a country boy at heart and even though I longed to leave in my high school years, there was something that drew me back to the humble surroundings of my country way of living. It’s not always easy balancing this lifestyle with progress. It almost doesn’t seem right to want a rustic log cabin with a microwave. I want cows and dogs but a big screen T.V. would be nice as well. And I’m sure that even though my wife wants a clothes line in the back yard, she sure couldn’t do without her heavy duty washer and dryer. I want a garden but I’d sure rather plow it with a new John Deere rather than an old mule.
One of the things that is especially troubling to me is the loss of much of our hunting land. Where there used to be deer and ducks, now there are malls and mansions. Where there used to be the sycamore and sassafras, now there are subdivisions. And it’s all in the name of progress. I think everyone ought to experience the joy and peace of country living. I just don’t want them to enjoy it so much that they buy my hunting lease, build their retirement home, and turn myproperty into an animal sanctuary. But the fact is, I can’t have it both ways. I can’t fuss about my dirt road without knowing that pavement is going to bring people. And I can’t fuss about not having city conveniences without having the city.
Many churches today struggle with this same dilemma. They want people without progress. They want big buildings without big budgets. And they want ‘sinners’ without sin. They’ve forgotten the invitation to come ‘Just as I am,’ but instead have ask folks to come ‘just as they would like to be, one day.’ They’ve forgotten that we are not to come to the Lord clean but we are to come to Him and let Him clean us up. They’ve forgotten that Jesus was a friend of sinners.
So if you and I want others to experience our life in the Lord, remember that you’re going to have to move over. You’re going to have to bring them in as they are. And you might just have to give them your parking space and your pew.