Its funny how “unintended” decisions can teach valuable lessons and become sources of blessings. This morning, my wife and I had the unexpected luxury of having date time, thanks to the generosity of our adult children. We decided to go to a larger city some 30 miles away for church and lunch and spend some quality time together. We had heard that the 1st Baptist Church in this town had great preaching and good music so we decided to attend there. Imagine our disappointment when we arrived at 10:55 only to see on their sign that the service had started at 10:20. Not knowing the city (and not having enough time to drive anywhere else) we walked across the street to the 1st Methodist Church to worship with them.
What an unexpected blessing. From the genuine greetings by the members there to the well exegeted and biblical sermon, the whole service was enjoyable. The blessing and the lesson, though, can from something different altogether. The recitation of the Apostle’s Creed, the Gloria Patri and the Lord’s Prayer brought a deep sense of comfort and companionship with the rest of the congregation who were affirming what I was affirming. So often, I believe we subconsciously start to feel that only people in our congregation, our denomination, are saved; forgetting that we don’t know everything and God has His people scattered everywhere.
The sermon was from Mark 8:22-28, the healing of the blind man by Jesus. The title was “Seeing people as people” and the lesson for me was pointed. Here I was, an outsider to this church, welcomed by them and worshiping with them because they saw me as a fellow believer. How did I view them, before walking into their service? How did I view their denomination before worshiping with them? Did I see them as brothers and sisters or misguided individuals? Did I see them as 2nd class Christians because they didn’t believe just as I did or as fellow believers from a different tradition who affirmed the same basic truths about the Triune God?
If you get the chance, visit the church across the street. Take in what they do, how they worship. Ask them, why do you do things this way, why do you not do things a certain way. Ask yourself – why does our church do things a certain way and not another. You just might find new believers to fellowship with. You might find an unexpected blessing in worshiping in a slightly different way. You might find an unexpected lesson in a familiar Scripture. Funny how God directs our steps to be where He wants us to be, even when we think we are the ones choosing the path.