Earlier today, I had a conversation with a friend. This friend has been through some difficulties and said that prayer was what was helping the most. As the conversation progressed, this person thanked me for taking the time to speak to “them.”
I gave this person the same answer I have given many others over the years: “If we don’t have time to help people, we need to shut our doors.”
What I mean by that is simply this: when the Church can preach the right sermons and worship in the right way, but never aid, encourage, assist, or pray with people who are hurting, we are not the Church that Jesus built.
Both the right message and the right lifestyle must be present for us to truly be representative of Jesus Christ. Acts 1:1 begins that great book about the Church with these words:
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and to teach.”
There is a balance there that we need to strike as His people. Do we need to spend time studying, teaching, and preaching? Of course we do. Jesus was the Master Teacher, and spent much time preaching and teaching others.
But we dare not forget that Jesus also “did.” He spent time with the hurting. He encouraged the sinful (while clearly not condoning their sinful actions). He reached out to the downtrodden.
If we have the “teaching” right and not the “doing” right, guess what: we don’t really have the teaching right!
When we fail to be like Christ–both in teaching and in doing–it may be time to shut the doors. After all, we aren’t really the Church of Christ when we fail to put actions with our words.