"And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." Luke 14:23
I was walking around the town I live in the other morning and noticed something. The downtown area was very attractive- with newly renovated buildings, freshly painted stores, lots of little sitting areas and well kept gardens. You could tell that much time and attention was taken with this area to make everything look nice and neat. A few minutes later I left downtown and drove to the "fringe" areas of downtown- only a few blocks away, but not in the mainstream of downtown. In this area there was a difference- the streets weren't as well kept, the buildings were in need of repair, the grass needed cutting- it was a change of scenery.
The Lord used what I was seeing as an analogy to show me something about how we are in the church. We are like the downtown area- we look good, take care of our own, make sure that we are all right, have our nice and neat little groups, and spend our time and attention focused on ourselves. And while we are taking care of ourselves, there are people outside of the church- on the fringes (almost on our doorsteps)- who are going lacking, in need of a "spiritual" renovation, there lives are messed up by sin, they are living in darkness, chaos and confusion.
There are people all around us who need what we- the church- have, but for the most part we are sitting in our comfortable churches, planning our programs, fellowshipping with each other, happy and content with where we are and what's going on with us. It's time we change our focus and look outside our doors and see that it is not as "pretty" out there and then do something about it.
Have a great day. What about those people who are on the "fringes" of our churches, what are we doing to help them?