Friends with benefits?

This past Sunday, as a body, we walked through 1 Corinthians 11:17-28, as I shared on the importance of Christ, and Him alone, remaining central to the church. While I was preparing earlier in the week to preach on that passage and building a case for the significance of communion to our Sunday gathering, one of my arguments sent me beyond our weekly service. The fact that communion re-establishes our unity as the Body of Christ drifted towards one of the downfalls of the Body. The unfortunate reality is that many of our practices as believers, in regards to church, mirror the social scene of popular society: commitment phobia. If we’re not dating churches, we’re in a long-term relationship with one (church), but still making “friends” with others. And because we’re only dating, we can visit as many churches as we want without fulfilling certain expectations. Or even though we are members at a church (long-term), we can still bail when something goes wrong (because we aren’t actually married). Our membership is solely a matter of time and space, rather than a covenant. I don’t believe we view church through the proper lens, because we are neglecting the fact that under God we are family. Instead, we seem to want the benefits of a church, without true commitment to one. We may faithfully attend service at a certain location, but the people we do life with and invite to our children’s birthday parties belong to another local body. Sure, we can and should build with believers, whether we share the same elders or not, but the place we call our “church” should be synonymous with our family. And family is defined by intersection and accountability, which makes it void of ambiguity and not based on addition. Simply put, we need to be sure that we see our church as a covenant family who we share our lives with regularly, not simply weekly.

I began learning the importance of this distinction as I realized the commitment that comes along with the covenant of marriage, yet how loosely I would commit to everything and everyone else. That bond of commitment must be expanded beyond just marriage of man and wife; it must spread into the local bodies comprising Christ’s bride—the Church. So, while Paul exhorts us not to forsake the assembly, I encourage you not to forsake those who actually comprise that assembly.

Invest in them. Commit to your family.