Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You're Not One Of Us.

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!





12 comments:

Susan said...

I love this post. I think there are lots of us who can use this same challenge.

Melissa said...

that's awesome! Great plan :)

Sharon said...

I know what you mean it is easier to go towards the people we know. I have been trying for some time now to go to people I don't see often or haven't seen before, of course at my age it hard to tell the difference. Good post and we are all guilty of doing that with our friends.

Sherry said...

I really enjoyed this post and I also feel similar the same way you do about our church. The cliques in our church use to bother me but then I changed my attitude that I always leave from our church with a feeling of someone cared about me personally, either a small child, youth or an adult and that gives me a since that I belong there and that is enough for me and I know in my heart that in the future if I will ever be in a time of need that even the people that I least expect will come and help me out. We have a great body of believers in our church.

Mrs. B said...

You can include me in the group that need the challenge.

Tanya said...

You are right, I needed to hear that.

Robin said...

I too am social in my comfort zone, but I've forced myself for quite sometime to be social/friendly outside of my comfort zone for the comfort of others (does that make sense?). If I see someone looking scared or lonely I always try to be extra caring because I know what its like to feel that way. Think about 2 Cor. 1:3-4 just a bit.

Carol said...

Heather, I've not been very active in blog world, but I came to your blog today from Papa's, and I'm glad I did. You nailed a very huge issue in the church! How often when we visit other churches, which we do in our camp position, we feel that very same thing...that we may be there, but we are not part of them. I'm glad the church acts like a family, but I really don't like to see the "family" exclude anyone just because they don't know them...fear of the unknown.

By the way, I just read this morning in a book on depression that Ernest Hemingway committed suicide at the end of his life. For all of his money and famous identity, it still did not bring the peace and the knowledge that he was part of the family of God. How sad.

Love to read your writings...you are so easy to follow and understand, and yet you move your stories along in such a way that I am totally interested in what you are saying!

Indian Lake Papa said...

A great challenge to all of us - I want to serve him no matter what! Hope my focus' is right.

darla said...

This hit a very tender spot in my heart, we have been going through something like this..and there is nothing worse than the enemy whispering in ones ear, you are not one of them...

I am working at the same thing to not be part of cliques and make a conscious effort to reach out to someone sitting alone, or looking on.
I hear you heart, and I love it! you truly are my sister..I am sure!

Robin said...

My brother, Robert is very congested and saw a doctor earlier (officially yesterday afternoon). The doctor wasn’t concerned so much about his sore throat, but most concerned about his heart rate it was almost 200 while he was just sitting in the office. The doctor told him he needed to admit to the hospital ASAP, but he said no because he doesn’t have health insurance - so he left the office with RX for antibiotics. He called me about 2:00 am asking what to do because his heart felt like it’s beating out of his chest - I told him he needs to follow his doctor’s advice and get to the hospital. I asked him if he needed me to call an ambulance and he said NO… he’s on his way to a hospital in TX, but I don’t know which one… Please pray!

Robin said...

Update - My brother and I talked on Wednesday night and he sounded so horrible (sore throat) that I decided to let him rest for a few days before trying to talk again. Well, he called me this evening to let me know that he had been life flighted to the hospital when his heart stopped. I guess it stopped three times. He was taking Mucinex and some other RX medications that didn't work well together. He does not have health insurance. Please continue to pray for him.