Monday, February 28, 2011

Salvation is Messy, Part Deux

I'm exhausted. I've been dragged from pillar to post while trying to help some new converts in our church. Life would have been lots easier if they had been customized into the Christian subculture already. Nope, these people are as green as they come - no church background whatever.
And baggage? Can you say "fly the friendly skies?"Every day is a new revelation, a continual soap opera of recurring problems from a seedy past. Earlier this month, I wrote "Salvation is messy," and the Lord added His exclamation point.
The intriguing and unknown factor is when "enough" is going to be enough. That is, when are these people going to be capable of standing on their own feet without the pastor (or another church member) coming to rescue them from yet another unforeseen predicament? The answer may only be known in hindsight. Like the experience of rearing our own children, we may not come to an exact point where we can say our job is done - ever.
But as a government official reminded me just a week ago, this experience, and the responsibility that comes with it, is all part of the job. When we ask the Lord for new people in church and souls being saved, He is under no obligation to provide them all shiny and new. New converts are new on the inside but the exterior can remain quite rough.
So what's the preacher to do in cases like this? Do a lot of praying, and then do the best you can. Remember the Lord is keeping watch, and your labor is not in vain.
It only looks that way.

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