Recently, when speaking about the church’s role in reaching the lost, I concluded with this illustration.
One of the side effects of being the only guy in a house full of females is that sometimes you end up watching British TV programs such as Downton Abbey. During the Christmas season, I watched 2.5 seasons of it. The program is set in World War I England, and is centered on a wealthy family and their very large estate. At one point during the war, the local hospital fills beyond capacity with wounded soldiers, and the family is asked to open up their mansion to serve as a convalescence home – which they do.
It’s really quite comical to watch all the maids, butlers, valets, footmen, etc in their formal attire care for the soldiers in this elegant mansion. What is less comical, however, is that in many cases, the soldiers who were cared for there didn’t want to leave and return to the battle. After all, the care and the accommodations were so very nice, life was so much more comfortable, and it was safe within its walls – who could really blame them?
Please hear me – the work being done within the hospital was extremely important – valuable beyond compare. Lives were changed; people were cared for, rest and recovery were made possible.
But, let us never forget, wars are not fought so that hospitals can be built. No, hospitals exist because there is already a war being fought and the wounded need a place to be cared for; healing needs to occur. As a church, our role is to equip soldiers for the battle, and to heal the ones who have been wounded on the front. And for goodness sakes, may we never wound our own. But, may we never forget that the battle continues to rage outside our four walls…that’s where the soldiers are needed.
“…you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
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