Daily Devotionals

Why Does Church Matter? (Part 2)

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“All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need…. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2: 44-47


Yesterday began a two-part series addressing a question that seems to loom over our country today:  “Why Does Church Matter?” I would argue that church is more relevant now than ever, for several reasons.  The two I mentioned yesterday are community and perspective.  Today, I will add a third reason:  The church offers people a purpose for living.    


If your mission or purpose for your own life, or if your prayer for your child, is to be wealthy or popular or happy, I fear for you and yours.  To yearn for happiness is to seek instant gratification, and that rarely ends happily.  What is your purpose?  By following the one who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life away, you and I can find our lives by giving our lives away — joining in God’s work that impacts individuals, communities, countries and the world.  


How?  You give time and energy and money — meaningful amounts of each — to put God’s love in action for people both here and around the world.  Last year, this church gave $800,000 beyond ourselves to join in God’s work, and the value of the time you all gave would far exceed that. Why do that?  Because deep inside we know that, when we “glorify God and love our neighbors,” we’re being the people God has created us to be.


Writing about the centrality of worship, Walter Brueggemann says, “As we sing out our life toward God, who is our shepherd and our king, we sing the center of our life away from ourselves… and in doing so we sing away the fear and the anxiety that causes us to act in selfish and inhumane ways… and we welcome grace and mercy and love.”  


Does the church matter?  More than ever.  More than ever.


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, in a world that sometimes seems lonely, helpless and hopeless, you call us to your church, where we can live in community, rest in your presence, see your perspective, and understand your purpose for each of us.  Thank You, Lord, for Eastminster.  It matters deeply to us, because You matter.  Amen.  


Submitted by Rev. Dr. Brad Smith