I recently learned that a very large hardware store is planning to open just over the road from our church centre. This will be I am sure a great delight to all congregational members who are DIY ‘Tragics’, you know the people who just love browsing the ‘goodies’ in such a store. I am not one of them! I just didn’t get the ‘DIY gene’. In fact the only thing that connects me to being a DIY ‘Tragic’ is the tragedy I was to my father in this area. He was a man who was simply magic with his hands, able to make anything out of anything, wood, metal, fabrics, concrete, brick etc. So you can see it would be a tragedy for him that I am not gifted in any of those things.
It has occurred to me that in many ways the church is like a large hardware store, or maybe toolshed full of tools for making things, often very expensive tools at that. In a sense a Christian is like a tool that God has purchased and expects to use as He wants, to make what He wants. We are also very expensive tools bought at a great price (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), the incalculable price of Christ’s life. Each of God’s ‘tools’ is made for a specific purpose, having been given gifts for that purpose in God’s kingdom-building work (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
Imagine however, if the tools we go and buy from the hardware store, often expensive ones, decided to do their own thing? The hammer has a mind of its own and chooses to hit things we don’t want; the saw decides what it will cut and how much; the drill drills holes where it feels like it; the work-lamp decides when, where it will shine and the paint brush paints only when it ‘feels like it!’ How would we feel when we see the chaos and damage resulting from tools that perform in such a way, when our DIY project is a disaster, especially when they were tools that we had carefully selected and paid so much for.
Could it be that this is how God feels about those He has carefully chosen before time (Ephesians 1:4,5), for whom He paid such a great price, to carry out the work He decided for a particular purpose (Ephesians 2:10). How does He feel when the ‘tools’ He chose and put in His construction team the church, decide to do their own thing how, when and if it pleases them, rather than for His ‘pleasure and will’ (Ephesians 1:5).
Now that is a ‘Tragedy’, for it is a tragic rejection of God’s love which He has poured into us. This is not a ‘DIY’ but a ‘DOT’ tragedy, when those God has purchased choose to ‘Do Their Own Thing’ (another word for this is sin) not ‘DGT’ i.e. ‘Do God’s Thing’.
Being by God’s grace a member of His church and doing our own thing is a kingdom-wrecking activity. It is only when God’s ‘Tools’, you and I resolve to prayerfully ‘DGT’ empowered by the Holy Spirit, for God’s purpose, at His time and in His way, that we please Him, and build His Kingdom for His glory.
It’s always a good time for us to review how we are performing as a tool in God’s tool shed, our Christian fellowship, whether this be of the small ‘Unbounded’ missional community type or a more traditional one.