A couple new to the community were church shopping. One of their newest friends, a member of First Community was gushing over her church.
“Our pastor has the greatest sermons! Humorous, deep, and easy to understand, he never goes over 21 minutes.
“You’ll love our music, We are always learning the latest contemporary music while we sing traditional hymns. We have classical music and rap. We have it all. You will have the finest musical fare.
“And we love our new youth minister. The kids play games every meeting but also have serious Bible study. Why, they took a mission trip last year to Mexico. It took six months to get one of the boys back from a Mexican jail but he’s finally home.
“And just look at our building. It’s the best in town. Not a thing needs to be done to it. Our trustees have spent all the money necessary to for upkeep.
“How? We have endowment funds that pay for everything in the church. You don’t even have to bother with giving.”
The young couple decided they would visit First Community but they wanted to check out the brand of coffee and make sure there were pastries for Sunday morning breakfast.
Unfortunately, in the church we have given some people the idea we are there to serve their preferences. So churches, instead of cooperating, compete with each other about music, coffee, different services, so we are more attractive than other churches to church shoppers.
We have developed a culture of narcissism in the church. Narcissism is when we fall in love with ourselves, with our ideas, our preferences.
The Greek fable of Narcissus tells of a man in love with his image reflected in a pool of water. So long did he look he turned into the flower called Narcissus.
In our culture we have developed a sense of self-importance. Companies and businesses all complete to satisfy our every desire. Whatever our whim they try to meet it. Anything goes if they can get our dollar.
We may have adopted that mentality in our church life also.
It is true the church is the only organization that exists for outsiders and not its members. But we are not about meeting preferences. We are about loving people in Jesus’ name. It is about meeting real needs with God’s grace.
Jesus’ mission statement may be found in His first sermon. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Lk 4:18-19
When all is said and done, when time is over, Jesus will say, “When I was hungry you gave me something to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me something to drink, when I was a stranger you invited me in, when I needed clothes you clothed me, when I was sick you looked after me, when in prison you came to visit me…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:35-40.
Jesus came to meet the brokenness between God and us. He came to share Good Newsstand meet needs of of people longing for God.
May we never become narcissistic.
After all, It is not about us. It is all about Jesus.