Monday, September 10, 2007

Expecting the best

As I talk to preachers, elders, and other leaders among churches we sometimes lament over "the brethren", especially how little they will do. I have worked with at least my share (I feel sometimes like maybe more than my share) of complacent brethren who don't want to do anything beyond attend at least one service. To be sure there are those who would look down on "Sunday morning worship brethren", but the only difference in their lives is that they attend every service of the church. These later brethren don't do anything else except attend all the services--their daily lives don't reflect Christ at all.

But how often have I heard "nobody wants the truth here" or, closer to home, you can't get the brethren here to do anything. While that may be true of some, there are those who just need to be asked, or just need to know something needs to be done. Too often I believe we expect the worst from people, not the best. And just like the child who is constantly told how troublesome they are, brethren from whom little or nothing is expected usually produce as is expected.
At one place we were told "you can't get anybody to help with Bible classes" but 30 or more ladies helped cut out, laminate, put together, etc. the activities for vacation Bible school. At another church I encouraged the brethren to invite their friends to a Gospel meeting and over 50 personal invitations were made. We have taught more than one person who was in an adulterous marriage and a number of them left those unions and are faithful still today.
Yesterday I suggested beginning a Wed. night Bible class again and to my surprise everyone was excited about that. I did not expect everyone to be excited--it's been more than 5 years since they had it and nothing had been said about it in the 3 months we've been here, so I thought some saw it as "too much". Only 2 live close to the church building, the rest of us will have to drive 20-45 minutes to get there because of traffic on Wed. evening, we're all busy, etc.
Brethren, the whole point of my rambling today is to expect the best of people. If they are taught what they should be doing many of them will respond. Some, perhaps even many, won't, but some will. Let us not judge who will or will not respond to the Gospel.

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