Last year I read a story about Walter Cronkite that he tells in one of his books. This story has had me thinking (off and on) for a year. Do you ever read or hear something that just strikes a chord within you, but you can't figure out exactly why? Well, that is what happened with this story:
Covering World War II, a bunch of wire reporters, Cronkite included, decided to have dinner at a fancy restaurant in Paris. When the bill came, they all started pointing fingers at one another, because it was so expensive that no one there could afford to pay it. It was then that Ernest Hemingway, who was listening in at another table, walked over to pick up the tab. But before he did, he left the table of reporters with a little sage advice:
“Just because you are here with us, doesn’t mean that you are one of us.”
These words, uttered by Ernest Hemingway, speak volumes. My first thought was that these words relate to Christians being in the world. Just because we are here, with the world, doesn't mean we are part of the world. As the Bible clearly tells us we are set apart. However, as I meditated further on these words, I began to see them differently. God showed me something ugly.....in His church and.......in me.
I am blessed to attend a church that is filled with messy people from all different walks of
life. Our church is home to a variety of people. Everybody from doctors and professionals to drug addicts and alcoholics. That is one of the reasons I love our church so much. There are also some things I dislike about our church. One of them are the 'cliques' that have seemed to form. There's not a lot of them, but one is too many in the body of Christ. What troubles me more is that I may 'act' as though I am a part of these 'cliques' sometimes. I am worried that my attitude may say to someone:
"Just because you are here with us, doesn't mean that you are one of us."
I have attended my church for 7 years and have become friends with quite a few people. I always look forward to greeting time as it gives me the opportunity to chat with my friends for a bit. I'm pretty social (when I am in my comfort zone) and flit around like a bee buzzing from one person to the next. But I wonder how many people dread greeting time because nobody comes up to them? I wonder what they think about people like me who walk right by them without even noticing them and hug the person directly behind them? What does that say about our church? More importantly.....what does that say about our Jesus? Does it say......
"Just because you are here with us, doesn't mean you are one of us."
I am challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone this Sunday!