The Greatest Need in the Church
By Pastor Eric L. Ollila | February 3, 2021
You've heard it said the greatest need in the Church today is Christ, but I tell you, the greatest need in the Church today is Christ and leadership by example.
I once heard a story called "The Gardener and God." It went something like this:
A man took a rock pile and, in two years, turned it into a fabulous garden. And people came from everywhere to see it. One day, a man came by and saw the garden and thought it was fantastic, but he wanted to make sure the gardener didn't take all the credit. He had this deep feeling inside that many people leave God out.
So, the man toured the garden to have the chance to meet the gardener. He eventually found the gardener, shook his hand and said, "Mr. Gardener, you and the good Lord together have made this beautiful garden."
The gardener immediately understood his message and his point. So, he replied, "I think that's true. If it's not for the sunshine and the rain, and the miracle of the seeds and the soil and the seasons, there would be no garden at all. All that God has done." And he continued, "But you know, you should have seen this place a couple of years ago when God had it all by himself.
- For those readers who are married and have children, what happens to your family if you neglect them? What happens if you don't feed, bathe or wash and care for your toddlers or infants? What happens if you let your children raise and fend for themselves?
- For the business owners out there. What happens if you neglect it? Don't file your taxes? Don't pay your employees? Don't do the work you contract to perform? What happens if you don't show up?
- For the students out there. What happens if you stop doing your assignments? You stop turning them in. What happens?
Doesn't God do all that for us? All we have to do is pray and claim His promises? Then why do we expect God to do everything in the Church to make it work?
Perhaps the most obvious example of this type of thinking is demonstrated in the pulpits on Sabbath when people pray like this:
O God, let the speaker we have today be hidden. Let us not see or hear him/her but let us only see and hear You, alone. Thank you, Amen.
Have you ever wondered from where in the Bible this idea originates? I mean, not even the prophets of Scripture accomplished that one. Whether you are considering Noah and the Flood, Abraham and Isaac, Moses and the Exodus, Joshua and the walls of Jericho, David and Goliath, Jonah and Nineveh, or even Jesus and His birth, Jesus and the disciples, or Jesus and His crucifixion. There was a part that God played. Yes! But did humans have no role to play? Were they hidden so no one could see them?
Since the creation of humanity, there is and has always been a part that humans play. Let me be clear. The Church NEEDS Christ. Christ is the Creator. He is The Source of life. Take Him away, and you have and can do nothing. If you take Him out of the equation, we wouldn't even exist.
But there is a part for us humans to play. A contribution that, if left off, also leaves us with nothing. Jesus said, I am the Vine, you are the branches. Have you ever seen a vine or a tree trunk stripped of all its leaves and branches? Have you ever seen fruit on a vine or tree stripped of all its leaves and branches? It takes considerable time before it will produce fruit again. It's not until the little buds, leaves, and branches grow back, and it is no longer in shock, that you start to see fruit come out. It can take years, and in some cases, the tree stops producing fruit altogether.
So, what about us? What about you and me? When we talk about the Church, are we necessary to make it work? Isn't Jesus Christ all that is needed? The answer is a resounding NO. God requires our involvement. And more specifically, He calls for our leadership and example.
Are you still not convinced? Don't you believe me?
Consider the following:
Did Jesus Christ ever come to this earth? I hope you answer, yes. I believe it is a reliable truth Jesus came to this earth.
- Did Jesus accomplish, all by Himself, the complete mission of taking the Gospel to every man, woman, and child on planet earth while He was here?
- Did Jesus, all by Himself, preach the Gospel as a witness to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people while He was here on this earth?
- Did Jesus, all by Himself, make disciples of all nations while He was here?
The answer? No. Jesus Christ did not accomplish the mission all by Himself.
How long has the Church been here since Jesus ascended to heaven? Let's say, approximately 2000 years.
- Has the Church accomplished its mission of taking the Gospel to everyone yet?
- Has the end come?
The answer? No. The Church has not accomplished the mission either.
Why is that?
Well, STAY TUNED! Come back next week, and we'll explore the answer.