Each week, I want to share something I appreciate about my community of faith, the Belton Church of Christ located in Belton, TX. Each week, I will highlight one “bright spot” in my congregation.
This story did not happen this week, but it is one I believe is worth sharing.
I recently preached a sermon that I did not intend to preach. I preached the parable of the Talents from Matthew 25. I started out with an assumption that the sermon would be about using our gifts for God in a good way, but the study, prayer and preparation for the message took me down a different path. The voice of the message was leading me toward the dangers of those who would emphasize religious forms and structures over the healthy disciplemaking life that Jesus wants for us. The sermon took on a more prophetic nature than my church is used to hearing from me. In other words, I stepped on toes.
It needs to be said that when I start stepping on toes, I have to squash mine first! So I didn’t say anything to anyone that did not implicate me first. After our service concluded, I received only positive comments from people, with some kidding about needing to wear steel-toes to church. Despite the encouragement, I knew some would struggle and some would be feeling disequilibrium. One of the most encouraging and wise men I know came to me after the crowds dispersed. He looked at me and said, “Those were hard words today. I wasn’t expecting that.” And then he said, “It took a lot of love for you to say what you did today. Thank you.”
His words moved me. I love my church because of people who are willing to hear the Word of God preached, even when that Word challenges us and makes us uncomfortable. And I love my church because they give me grace.
How have you experienced love and grace from your faith community?