Can you love your church too much?

Yesterday was one of my favorite days as a pastor.  Part of it was the fact that we had 4 orphans from halfway around the world at our gathering.  To see families love those in need, not because they earned or deserved it, but because they chose to love these children, was an amazing testimony of the gospel bearing fruit in our hearts.  Part of it was the God-centered, Christ-saturated worship of our service.  Part of it was hearing the stories of 6 people whose hearts and lives have been transformed by the power of the gospel and seeing them immersed under water to identify publicly with their Lord and Savior, Jesus.  Part of it was also the fellowship afterwards and seeing the bonds of love that have grown over the years and seeing new ones created; all because of a common Savior.

Yesterday was special.  And I almost ruined it by loving my church too much.  Have you ever met anyone like that?  They believe that the center of all of God’s working is within their 4 walls.  It’s so easy to make something really good into an idol that takes the place of God in our hearts.  And it can happen so subtly.  Now I am the first to admit that many don’t love their church enough or at all for that matter.  But when we see the good things and the God things happening within our faith community, we can forget one simple, powerful truth.  All these amazing things that are happening are not because of us.  It’s not that our church community is better than another because we are inherently better.  All these things are happening because of God.  He is the one who is moving.  When anything good happens, we must realize that it’s because of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us.

I love my church.  I feel blessed and privileged to serve as an elder, but all the praise, all the glory, all the credit for what happened yesterday goes to Jesus and the power of His gospel.  I think when we keep loving the One who makes all of this possible, we will not be tempted to create another idol in our hearts, even when the idol is something good like the church.

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