I love my home and I give thanks to God every day for it. There are many people in this world that are homeless and millions that live in deplorable places, that cannot be called “houses” by any stretch of the imagination.
My house is perfect for me: It is not too small or too big. It has everything that I need to live comfortably, but it is not complete. As all homeowners know, there is always something to do around the house. There is a never-ending and growing to-do list of chores and projects. I am talking about home repairs, paint jobs, mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, cleaning the house, cleaning the septic tank, cleaning the windows, etc. I am not even mentioning the “extra” projects needed to keep the house up to date.
As I reflect on these things (and all the money that it’s going to cost me), I remember my time as a missionary in Guatemala. As we drove through the towns and villages, we noticed that most houses were incomplete. There were steel or iron bars sticking out from almost every roof. When we asked about this strange phenomenon, we were told that the houses were incomplete in order to avoid taxes.
In a sense, all Christians are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). We have been born again and saved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8). In addition to this, all of our sins have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:31, 32), we are now children of God (John 1:12), we are heirs of eternal life (John 6:47; Romans 8:17) and our salvation is complete and secure (John 10:20-30).
There is so much more that I can add to this, including that the Holy Spirit dwells in us (John 14:17), that the Word of God is our guide for everything (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) and that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8). Shouldn’t all of this (and so much more) be enough for us to lead victorious and fruitful lives?
Christians are imperfect and incomplete saints. Some of us are further ahead on the road of holiness and sanctification, but all of us are still unfinished diamonds. One day, we shall possess unblemished and imperishable perfection in heaven, but for now we can rejoice because God is still working on us and He will make sure that none of his children will be lost.
Two Bible verses come to mind to illustrate this point and conclude this writing:
“…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Once upon a time, a man was transferred to a new city and being a Christian, he began the difficult, but rewarding process of looking for a new church for him and his family. He visited three churches before deciding to become a member in one of them.
On the first Sunday, he arrived at a church on the outskirts of the city. The first thing he noticed was that everyone in that church was extremely obese and glued to their pews. No one came to greet the family; in fact quite a few of them looked at the newcomers with disdain.
The worship service was rather dry and uninspiring (only a few people sang), and the sermon while orthodox and biblical, lacked energy and vitality. It reminded the family of a fundamentalist church they had visited before.
At the end of the service, the youngest in the family asked his father why was everyone so obese. The dad replied, “It is because they are gluttons for the Word, but are too lazy to apply it to their lives”
The next Sunday arrived, and the family visited another church. This congregation was very active and lively. The music and the preaching were dynamic, but the message was lacking biblical flavor. In addition, this mega-church had all kinds of “ministries” and activities for every possible age group or special needs.
The family noticed that in this church everyone was extremely skinny, almost anorexic. The father explained to his family that this condition was the result of too much labor and very little feeding. In this sense, they were the complete opposite of the first church. They had the committees, the activities and the ministries, but they were undernourished with the Word.
When the third Sunday came, the family had almost lost hope of finding a good Bible-believing, Bible-preaching and Bible-applying church. Notwithstanding, they made one last effort after much prayer and deliberation.
As they entered the sanctuary, they were greeted sweetly and softly by several believers at the door. While they were being ushered to their seats, they were impressed by the welcoming faces and by the reverence that was evident in this holy place. Some were praying, others were reading the Bible and some were greeting each other quietly, while the musicians made last minute adjustments.
Was the church perfect? By no means, but they knew that God was in this place. Their suspicions became reality as they experienced a vibrant worship service that was saturated with love, joy and the Word of God.
The great majority of the church members were in great shape.
The moral of this parable is clear. The Gluttons represent those who hear (and know) the Word and do almost nothing with it (James 1:23, 24). The Bland are like Martha (Luke 10:38-42), in that they forget the Word when they serve. The Upright are those that hear, do, live, love and apply the Word.