|Vol. 14 No. 6 June 2012||
“There is nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it.” Most of us have heard this advice or tidbit of wisdom. Most have heard it multiple times, no doubt, throughout the course of their lives. I know that I have, but to be honest, this advice has always been lackluster to me. Something about it just does not sit right with me. You see, on one hand, I understand the point. We must think positively. It never benefits us to trudge through our day thinking that the things we would like to accomplish are just too far out of reach to be sensible. We do not know what the future holds, the steps of growth we can make and the doors that each will open. To think in terms of “I cannot” (and similar sentiments for that matter) is to close off or gravely limit that future and the possible opportunities we may have.
On the other hand, something seems to be missing in this phrase. It is really not the “nothing you cannot do” part, but the “if you put your mind to it” part. Why does it not sit right with me? Well, there are a couple of reasons, but let me share the one that I think most vital. It leaves out Christ. You see, all things are possible, but not all things are possible for the wrong thinking person. The Bible encourages us to “have the mind of Christ.” That is the Christian duty. However, beyond the fact of duty is the suggestion that assuming the mind of Christ opens possibilities that we would certainly never have. When we see from His perspective, the world looks like a whole different type of place. Things that were once vital to us are no longer of value. Things that we once neglected are now germane to our very existence.
The simple fact of the matter is this, if I am living without the constant influence of Christ in my life, many doors are closed to me, including the door of eternity. I can do all things, but it is only through and by Him that such is the case. Now, do not get me wrong. Many people who either neglect or reject God and His Son have very successful lives here. They have their reward. These are earthbound things and possible for many, if not all, in some way. In the grand scheme of things, however, these are small matters. Harder is the removal of sin, sanctification and purification. Harder is loving when you are unloved. Harder is overcoming things like pride to see with clarity the path before us or anger or doubt, etc.
You can do all things, but only in Christ (Philippians 4:13). In this day, do them!
Sometimes, we hear phrases such as “great,” “vibrant,” “alive” or “on fire” to describe churches and their various activities. Such adjectives can be freely tossed about in conversation, but what they mean varies from one person to the next.
Just what is it that really makes a church great? Some might suggest size. Surely, a big church must be a great church. The church in Philadelphia, however, was not big, as it had only a “limited strength” (Revelation 3:8). Size notwithstanding, God found no fault with them, and set before them an open door.
Others might suggest prosperity. Surely, a church that is prosperous must be a great church. The church in Laodicea, however, was financially secure (Revelation 3:17). Finances notwithstanding, God counted them “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” Obviously, how we count greatness is not always how God counts greatness.
So, what makes a church great? No doubt, since the church consists of those saved (Acts 2:47), it is that quality which, as individual Christians, makes us acceptable before God. When Jesus’ disciples were arguing which one of them was the greatest, He responded, “For whoever is least among you – this one is great” (Luke 9:48). Similarly, Jesus taught them, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).
Great churches consist of great members. Great members, in God’s sight, are those who humble themselves as slaves of the Lord. It is not in seeking greatness that one becomes great, but in seeking to do one’s best each day as a faithful, trusting servant of God.
Who is really great? God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are greater than anyone or anything. What is really great? Our salvation in Christ, provided by the grace and mercy of God in love, is the greatest gift we can ever receive.
How can we, as individual Christians and collectively as members of His body or the church, be great? We must humble ourselves before God, yield ourselves to Him and seek in love to live obedient lives by faith. “It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life – a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-28).