My best thoughts come in the shower - I know TMI - but they seem to have always been that way. I wish I had a contraption (I don’t use that word often) that would let me listen to podcasts, answer my phone, and take notes while in the shower (And some of you are now wondering how long a shower I take, sorry).
A couple of days ago - I think it was last Wednesday (1/5) I had the following and as quick as I could jotted it down.
I’m thankful for an imperfect church. I know the church in design, concept and formation is perfect and in so very many others ways it is too - the imperfect part is the human element. God knew this would exist and established, allowed His Son to die for it’s creation anyway.
I’m thankful for an imperfect church because:
1. It makes us more like the New Testament church. I’ve always preached that it is our desire to be as much like the New Testament church in faith and practice as possible. Well, we may have missed it in some ways but from what I know, we nailed it here! When I read the NT I actually feel a little better about the church today. Issues like: a man involved in an incestuous relationship and the church “boasting” over it, a congregation with a reputation of being “sound” that in reality no longer even loved the Lord, a church that had totally left the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus behind and was teaching another gospel, a congregation that was simply - “dead”. Every congregation I have seen has issues, challenges, sins and problems that could lead to division and death. It hurts and it sometimes breaks my heart but I take some comfort in that God still loved those congregations. I don’t know who said it first but “the church is not a hotel for saints but a hospital for sinners.”
2. I have a job. Don’t get me wrong - I am NOT all about a paycheck. In fact I got a little sick when I think that my motives may have anything to do with that. But I am thankful to have a job and to be paid to do something I love doing. If the church was perfect then they would not need to be “reminded” (1 Peter 1:12-15) of how to live or how to deal with sin or how to avoid sin or how to treat each other or how to treat those in the world or of the importance of sharing their love for the Lord with the lost. Since we are so imperfect I will have a job - until heaven - then if I need money I suppose I’ll just sell pavement!
3. This is the biggest one: They won’t kick me out! That great theologian Grocho Marx said: “I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member.” Not sure it applies, but I do know myself, and if the church were perfect on this earth then I would surely ruin that with my sins. Now, that is not to be dismissive of my own weaknesses but I am thankful that in the church there are people all along the path to perfection. There are those who have walked the paths I’m walking before who can help me overcome and there are those who I can aid in their journey. In my attempts to be more like Christ I need to see progress but I also need reminders that I have so very far to go (I even liked that the URL to this post is dalejenkins.com/imperfect). There is a constant reminder that I am a fellow struggler. That I am “a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Sometimes we seem to go in our minds from "imperfect" to "I'mperfect" - God save us from that mentality.
God, keep us from ever deciding that we are perfect (only perfected, and that through Christ's righteousness), for to do so would minimize Christ and would make us so “self-righteous” He would not stomach us anyway!