I was reading my Bible last week and came across a passage in Galatians and started thinking, which is always dangerous. Galatians 6:11-18 is a passage in which Paul talks about people who try to get new converts to become circumcised. He says they do this not to keep the law but so they can boast in the flesh of the new members. Paul reminds us that neither circumcision nor un-circumcision counts for anything but rather a new creation matters. To those who follow this rule (rather than the circumcision rule) he asks for peace and mercy to be upon them. He closes the section by reminding them that the grace of our Lord be with the spirit of his brothers.
My thoughts lead me to contemplating the modern church compared to the old church. Is the "walk the aisle and say a prayer in the 15th verse of Just As I Am" action the modern-day equivalent of circumcision? Follow me a second. I have no doubt that there is a conversion occurring (and there had to have been a serious conversion before you let a non-medical person slice on your foreskin) but Paul mentions that those that desire to have you circumcised do it so they can "boast in the flesh". Not the literal "flesh" but rather a collection of people, they wanted a bigger following, a bigger church. Their motivation for growing the church is to grow the church, not to reach the lost. In a similar fashion, there is a desire to grow the church once people have made that step out into accepting the grace.
In no way am I discounting the change that occurs in the people. It is simply the fact of what happens afterwards. It is so easy to get swept up and go along, to become a member of the church but not actually take up your cross and follow Him. This was the point of last week's story. It talks of a group that starts with the best of intentions, carries on with the best of intentions, actually does great things, and then at some point they become overwhelmed with what they are doing, rather than the actual work. But at the heart of it all beats a collection of people who do understand: it isn't easy, it isn't glamorous, it simply must be done.
I told the story last week because it was an easier pill to swallow. I think it was more succinct and you don't have to watch sausage being made to get the point. I also made sure I told my preacher that I wasn't specifically calling out our church. In many ways though it is like term limits for politicians. They're always great for someone else's politicians, we like our representatives to get the advantage of seniority. While it isn't our church, or isn't predominantly our church, it does happen there, too. You can't eliminate the weeds without killing the wheat--until the right time. Even then you have to know that some of the harvest isn't what you need.