An artist visited a museum where one of his masterpieces was on exhibit. He approached the painting and noticed that the museum had placed one of his earlier, lesser known works beside it. As he stood there comparing both paintings, he began to feel sad. Just then someone recognized him and complimented him on his masterpiece. But the artist couldn’t enjoy that word of praise. Instead, he replied, “All I know is that it grieves me that I realized so little of the promise I showed in my youth.”
Truth be told, many Christians would have to say the same thing about their Christian growth. Oh, the promise they showed when they were young! They went to church. They studied the Bible. They prayed. They gave. They witnessed. They lived lives of holiness. But then they got older and ran into some trouble.
When conflict within the church caused them to become disillusioned, they stopped attending. When differing doctrinal interpretations made studying the Bible harder, they gave up on it. When their prayers weren’t answered to their satisfaction, they quit praying. When their financial situation took a downturn, they eliminated their giving. When they saw no fruit from their witnessing, they hushed. When God didn’t seem to reward their life of holiness, they turned to worldly pursuits and pleasures.
Christian friend, does any of this description fit you? If it does, I urge you to find your way back to the fellowship you once had with Jesus. And, please, work on the fellowship before you start working on the service. If you can get the fellowship where it needs to be, the service will inevitably flow, but service without fellowship just becomes drudgery. Try to rediscover the simple, childlike faith that you once had, a faith that was sincerely shown even in those classic rhyming prayers:
“God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed. Thank you, Lord, for daily bread. Amen.”
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.”
You should also consider Matthew 18:1-4, which says:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (N.K.J.V.)
Did you notice that Jesus said we must “become as little children” AFTER we are “converted”? Why did He make that the order? He did it because He knew that we are prone to become more hardened, cynical, and doubtful as we age. Surely the adult life has a way of knocking the childlike faith out of us, and even authentic Christian conversion doesn’t eliminate that problem. That’s why even us Christian adults must become “as little children.” Is that a tall order? You’d better believe it. But is it one worth meeting? Absolutely, because when we meet it, that creates a true masterpiece.