© by Joyce C. Lock
Have you ever been frustrated over people who come to church just to warm the pews? It's so easy to point, "Sinner!"- turn your nose up, look the other way, and exclude them in fellowship. It takes the love of Christ to look inside and see their need.
They didn't give up on God. Otherwise they wouldn't even be in church. What they may have given up on is either themselves or other Christians.
Maybe they fell. Maybe they were nearly stoned to death by the brethren. Maybe their anger got the best of them. Maybe they were falsely accused. Maybe they misunderstood God's leading and were tricked by Satan.
But whatever is was, something very painful happened. Satan convinced them God wouldn't receive them, it could happen again, or they don't have the strength to begin anew.
Perhaps we could love them best by telling them they "can" ... that God made a very special provision to help His children with such a need ... that when we follow God every step of the way, we can't fall (2 Ch.15:2b) ... that we "can" place of confidence in Him.
A second group of pew warmers, phlegmatic in personality, often have the gift of helps. Once they scurried all over God's house, doing countless unnoticed deeds ... until they joined a legalistic church.
If they have to measure up to serve their God, they'll sit there "till the cows come home. They don't care if you call them dirty names, like" Back Slider". They know who they are ... a lot healthier than some of us.
We're not going to see them move (unless it's out the door) until our hearts are ready to receive them as already valuable members.
A third group of pew warmers are the new converts ... new at the business of serving the Lord. They have so many new terms to learn, programs to follow, acceptable etiquette to catch, attire to transform, and things to grasp ... they may not know if they're coming or going.
They need us to come along side and help them (not preach at them).
A fourth group of pew warmers may not need to be noticed. They may minister throughout the week, while others take a holiday. They could be among our greatest prayer warriors. Yet, we thank them by judging.
A fifth group of pew warmers, those waiting to measure up ... are still waiting. They believed man when he said they needed to pass a spiritual test first, but the rules keep changing. No point of acceptance with God opens that door. He isn't the one who closed it.
A sixth group of pew warmers possible aren't Christian at all. They may either be new or have efficiently warmed a pew for a lifetime. No one bothered to check their salvation.
A seventh group of pew warmers may be patiently awaiting to serve while others think themselves so great they don't need help.
When we attempt to name another's sin, things are rarely what they seem. Pointing our finger at another leaves most of the fingers pointing at the real problem (Ps. 119:165).
God may not answer our prayers for more laborers until we use the one He gave us.
The purpose of this series is to encourage people to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God: Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God tells us through Micah (6:8), "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." And we know from Revelation 21:4 that there will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain, or death. Thus, Christian living requires us to set the standards of these conditions here on earth for our fellow human beings, and for the other animals, as a witness to the rest of the world. To do otherwise is not Christian.