Sunday, 21 February 2016

Is the church a cafe? Did you go to be served or to serve?

I had a dream this morning where I saw that I was working in a cafe.  It was busy, there were people coming and going and we didn’t have everything we needed, we still needed a barista, some customers were helping cook the steak for the hamburgers that Jim was cooking as Jim was rushed off his feet. We needed people to serve the people coming in as I was dealing with all the different ones coming and going.  I saw that people were sitting down in a seat but actually weren’t there to get food, they were just using the seats even though they were not using the cafe.   I saw a council officer come in to inspect things and she saw we still needed a barista and she knew people and was going to help us to find one. There was an older man there who was smoking a cigar and I was keen to have a drag off his cigar. People were wandering through our private home at the back of the cafe.  The cafe remained open because people kept coming.  But I was shown that if I didn’t put time limits on the cafe on I would slip over (being rushed off my feet) and the watermelon juice I was carrying would slip down the drain spilling over people.

I pondered this as I asked the Lord a question if running a church was like a business and He said ‘No’ but, “he was about the Fathers business.”  And that business he was about was teaching in the synagogues (churches of that day - Mark 14:49) and preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every sickness and disease. Mark 4:23

I believe many people are treating churches like a cafe where they come in and get served and when they don’t get want what they want they leave the cafe never to return, leaving a bad smell like that of the cigar I saw.   But in actual fact Jesus said in Matt 20:25 “the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”.   
So no, we are not in a business but there are aspects of the church that can be seen like a business and there are warnings we can heed in which we will see the things in which the Lord has called us to do, to remain.  We have come to do the Fathers business which is to serve, teach and preach the good news, to heal sickness and disease. 

There were many warnings in this dream for me and I share this because I believe there is relevance for others here as well.
  1. To put boundaries on your time and not to be ‘open’ day and night.  We need to be a people that take time for ourselves to be refreshed in the Lord.  Even Jesus went off from the crowds to be alone.  To not be so rushed off our feet as to not be aware of things that may slip into our lives  through being so busy.
  2. That God is the one who makes divine appointments (council lady) who will give us what we need.  Expect the unexpected in areas of provision.
  3. When someone takes offence, be careful not to come alongside that offence and join in. (The man smoking the cigar that I wanted to take a drag off.)
  4. Don’t go into churches with an attitude of being served but rather what can I do to help?  Eph 6:7  “Serve wholeheartedly as if you were serving the Lord not man, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever he does, whether he is slave or free.”
For me, part of my job if you like, is to ‘prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’ (Eph 4:12)
A call and a passion on my life is to see the unity of the brethren and that is about seeing a body of believers growing up into maturity where we are all serving one another in love, ‘submitting to one another of our reverence for Christ’ Eph 5:21 and in that place we will attain the ‘whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ and that excites me as to what that would look like.  People healed, delivered, set free, the kingdom of heaven on earth as it is in heaven.  That is what I live for.