What is the first excuse that pops in your head as to why you should not do something, or why you cannot commit to something? If we are honest I think we would say time. We are all quick to point out how busy we are - myself included - there are lots of reasons both good and sinful as to why this is the case.
Interestingly we often here the TIME excuse trotted out when we talk about church as family or community. So last night we were studying Ephesians 3v1-13, and what our reconciliation of believers to one another means and looks like, how church in the amazing and at times baffling purpose and plan of God declares his wisdom to those hostile to God in the heavenly realms. We have to be honest with ourselves and say that God views our churches as having more inherent dignity and a greater and more glorious purpose than we do.
But interestingly when we look at applying this is terms of being that family, body and sharers in the promise we trot out the TIME problem. Almost as if we do not think it was an issue for the Ephesian church. We are one of the first generations to talk of leisure time and yet we talk about not having the TIME to build family ties with our brothers and sisters in Christ, or to introduce our friends to the gospel community we are part of!
I think we need to recognise what a lot of presumptuous nonsense that is. As we say that we are presuming the Ephesians had it easy, life was somehow less frenetic for them than it is for us, we are presuming that God's word was inspired in the vision it set out for church for them but now needs modifying for us, and we are assuming that we can manage without this.
That is what we are saying when we say "But we are all so busy!" so why not be honest and say I don't want to apply this to myself, I don't want to invest in the church this radically, I don't want to make myself this vulnerable, I don't think of the church as God thinks of the church.
Or maybe it is that 'I'm too lazy to think radically about how this changes everything.' How it must make my home our church family home, how it must mean an open door, and eating together, and loving and laughing together, how it must mean breaking down barriers in our minds, in our relationships and in our inviting people over.
“There was once a community where people took off their masks and shared their lives with each other, where they laughed, cried and served together. Where those who had more, shared freely with those who had less until socioeconomic barriers melted away. Where people related to each other in ways that bridged gender, age, and racial chasms. That was bold, creative and dynamic.
That community was the church and what united them was a belief that only one power existed that could conquer sin, wipe out shame, heal wounds, and ultimately change the world one life at a time – the gospel of Jesus.”