Ponderings of the Preacher . . .
I found the following article in my files and thought it was worthy of reprinting. It is almost 20 years old, copied from another church’s newsletter, but the message is still relevant.
Are You a Consumer or a Contributor?
Nearly everyone is familiar with the statement John Kennedy made during his inaugural speech in 1961. “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Why is this so memorable? I believe it is because it challenges us to grow beyond our natural selfishness and adopt a more mature attitude as citizens.
In a similar way we most naturally ask, “What can this church do for me?” We see the church through the eyes of a consumer as we are “shopping” for the preaching, Sunday School, music, and youth program merchandise that will best meet our needs or the needs of our family.
But at some point, we need to hear God challenging us, to ask more than, “What can this church do for me?” but also to ask, “What can I do for my church?” After all, what if every church member continued to think like a consumer? Who would be doing the serving while everyone was consuming?
For sure, we never outgrow the need to consume fellowship, teaching, and other benefits which church involvement should give us. However, for the church to be healthy, a significant number of us, ideally all of us, must eventually grow beyond the consumer mentality to take on the contributor mentality.
A Christian who remains a consumer will more easily become dissatisfied that the church is not meeting their needs like it did at one time. The contributor, on the other hand, is more fulfilled because of service. He is also patient with what the church lacks, because he understands that the “somebody” who ought to be “doing something” is himself or herself and other strugglers.
We truly live in a consumer society, and people often see the church through the same set of glasses as they do when visiting a store at the mall. Although we may at first prolong our visit because the church is merchandise we need, God wants you and I to assume some responsibility for the store and begin serving other customers. That is a maturing church.
Are you a consumer or a contributor?
I hope to see each of you this coming Lord’s Day as the church meets for worship!
C U N Church,