My coworkers and bosses all know that I am a regular church goer. So, back at Christmas time I was fielding the usual questions: Does your church have a special Christmas service? A day-break service? etc. I was busy trying to explain that, no, we don’t have those services. That “my” church doesn’t do those things. Then it struck me that this was far from the first time that I had answered these questions. Do you have special Easter services? Good Friday? Thanksgiving? Put those negative answers alongside the answers about musical instruments, church councils and creeds and it occurred to me that to my coworkers the outstanding feature of the church of Christ might be that it doesn’t do anything. “Lucas? He goes to the Church that doesn’t have instrumental music, doesn’t cooperate with other churches, doesn’t give to orphanages, doesn’t have Christmas or Easter services and doesn’t have a fellowship hall.” Is this what we should be known for? What we don’t do?
Now, let me say that it is incredibly important to seek after God according to His ordinances. Doing those things would be against scripture, so we should not do them. But should we only be known for what we don’t do?
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Jesus says that we should be known by how we love each other. That His disciples would be known by how they loved each other. We should not be ostentatious in the good deeds we do for each other (Matt. 6:1-6) but we should be so busy doing good for each other that others can’t help but notice. Dad loves to tell the story about the time he was in the hospital and so many brethren visited him that the nurse was amazed and commented on it in a wondering voice. That is how people should know us, as the church which loves its own and does good for the world as well. (1 Timothy 2:1-2, “pray for all men” see also Jeremiah 29:7)
Surely God would rather have us known as the Church whose members are always going about doing good than as just “the Church which doesn’t . . .”
Isa. 1:16-17 “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”
James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”