We have a new pope. I was browsing Twitter yesterday at the time that the announcement was made. For all the talk of religion dying in our world, the election of the head of the Roman Catholic Church, which represents close to a billion people, was huge news. Most of the headline articles today have to do with who Jorge Mario Bergoglio, or Pope Francis I, is. In some ways it is ground-breaking to have a pope from outside of Europe, which is something that hasn’t happened in almost a millenium.
As a pastor of a relatively small Evangelical church, I watched the whole process from a distance. I was a little interested in who they would choose, but probably like most of us who claim to be Evangelical, the selection doesn’t make a difference to me personally or how I lead the church I’m in. My thinking was, “the Catholics do their thing, and I do mine”.
God then gave me this thought: The way that I feel about the election of this new pope is probably how people outside of the church feel about what we do. Every Sunday, we hop into our cars, and do our church thing. We’ve helped orphanages, planted churches, gone on missions trips, and done a bunch of other good Christian stuff. It makes us feel real good, and to some extent we are seeing God do some pretty awesome things. But how many people drive up and down Hwy. 16 on a Sunday morning, look at all the cars parked in front of all the churches and say, “the church people are doing their thing, and I’m doing mine”.
Even though I live in the Bible-belt, in a relatively small town, there are thousands, and I mean thousands of people in my small town who have no idea of who Jesus is or what it means to belong to a church family who loves them. They have no idea of the power of the gospel or the love of Christ.
God’s using this thought that He gave me to stir up my heart again to be the tangible hands and feet of Jesus to those around me. If the church is irrelevant to our friends and neighbors, may we be the type of people who love in such ordinary and extraordinary ways that the Body of Christ, His Church, would once again be a city on a hill in our town.
May we see the words of Jesus fulfilled when he said, “Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”