Do I Belong?

Church is for the people who have their lives "together".
Church is an assembly of the perfect and the sinless or, at least, people who think they are!

Maybe you have heard people say that.  You may even think that's the way it is.

Jesus said . . .

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
"Weary and burdened" are not adjectives used to describe people without flaws.  The church is made up of people with needs, people who have made mistakes, people with real problems.

Many in our nation and our community are focused on having a life without trials.  Despair comes when their job shows no mercy.  Temptation to "throw in the towel" creeps in when classes demand more than one has to give.  Confusion arises when a family full of love discovers they have conflict.  Deceiving oneself about a world of perfection causes anxiety and denial.

Those inside the church must be honest about their failures and humanity; those outside the church should feel welcome to come to a place where people are real (sins and all). 

Once a man or woman has discovered what Jesus meant when promising "rest" and they gather with others who found their place of rest, you have the church.

Rest does not mean the absence of long days or conflict.  Rest does not promise rose-colored existence and seasons without rain.  What Jesus does promise with His rest is the gift of knowing that, although we cannot be perfect, we can come to Him with our "skeletons in the closet," our pain and our faults. 

Who belongs in the church?  The church needs all kinds - the successful and the struggler, the hopeful and the worried, the energized and the tired, the champions and the discouraged, the confident and the doubtful.

The only people a church does not need are the perfect.

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