Have you ever felt like the only thing that mattered about you to the church was your gift, or what you could offer to the body of Christ? Have you ever noticed that once you stop serving in a certain capacity in the church, it seems like those who were once in your corner are no longer anywhere to be found when you take that step back? And we wonder, “What does that say about our worth, not as a person, but as a member of the body – the family – of Christ?”
And the sad thing, folks, is that this doesn’t happen only to “adults.” (I say “adults” because according to most parents, children aren’t officially adults until they’re like, 30…So for the rest of us, I will refer to us as young(er) adults. Rabbit trail, sorry.) No. It happens to young adults, teens, and even children! It blows my mind at how much, for lack of better words, two-facedness goes on in the church. Not any one or two churches, but all across the board.
And it makes me wonder, if the church is one body made up of many members, each one playing a vital role, how can it so easily cut off (ostracize) parts that “cease to become relevant”? Who gets to determine that? Certainly not those placed in leadership. The last time I checked, there’s someone who formed each and every one of us in the Imago Dei, with a specific purpose, with certain spiritual gifts, that loves and values us above anything else in His creation, and His name is spelled GOD. Not MAN.
I have seen too many times, someone who was once apart of a ministry and for some reason or another decided to step out of that role. Brothers and sisters, that’s between that person and God, and not for us to judge or render retribution against. That doesn’t mean we ignore (or in some people’s cases, resume ignoring), withhold fellowship from, exclude, slander, or tarnish someone’s reputation.
Here’s the hard truth about those sort of actions and attitudes: that is extremely shallow and disgusting. No one in the body of Christ should be treated in such a manner. Especially when it comes to children, teens, and young adults whose minds are already impressionable and vulnerable. You want another reason why many leave the church? The slight against children, teens, and young adults is so very real, and yet, it gets downplayed so often because, “Oh, they’re just a kid. They’ll get over it.” Now, take a wild guess as to how that reflects in declining ministries targeting such age groups.
As for those of you who find yourself, or have been in a place where you took a break from or stopped serving in the church entirely, it is all too easy to develop a spirit of bitterness and resentment. But it’s in those times especially where you have to rise above the nasty fallen nature of mankind to be the better person. To serve as a reminder, I leave you with these few verses:
Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. FORGIVE as the Lord forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”
Serving in the church (even if you are not currently doing so, at least let your daily life be a reflection of your servanthood to Christ):
Colossians 3:23-24 “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is CHRIST.”
Hebrews 6:10 “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”