My husband and I spent the better part of today working in our back yard. My husband was planting flowers, laying down landscaping bricks, mulch, etc. I was painting our garden shed’s door. This is our third summer in this house. Last summer my husband painted the sides of the shed (the sides you can see from the house), but he ran out of red paint.
And he didn’t attempt the door. I can see the door from the window above my kitchen sink every time I am washing dishes. The people who lived in the house before us never painted it. It has always been just weather-worn bare wood. It has bothered me all this time, so I decided I would paint it.
It wasn’t easy painting wood that had been in the weather for 15 years. The wood was dry, so the paint soaked in, and it will take more than one coat. And I had to stop, and finish tomorrow, because the mosquitoes were coming out in droves. So I will be out there tomorrow to finish. And then when I look out my kitchen window, I can see a beautiful red garden shed with a white painted door.
Was it necessary to paint it? It was functioning fine without the paint. It kept the shed and all the garden implements dry. So it probably could have been left bare for a few more years. But it wasn’t attractive that way. It was bare wood, dull, and not beautiful to look at. It was a stark contrast to the beautiful perennial garden my husband created right next to it, with beautiful flowers and fragrant herbs.
It was hard work painting it in 90-degree heat, and I had white paint on my arms, hands, and my clothing. But it was worth it to be able to look at the beautiful shed from my window every day when I wash dishes.
I was thinking this is a beautiful picture of the Body of Messiah. When I moved to Illinois in 1996, I left a Messianic Jewish Congregation in Maryland that I absolutely loved. It was a close-knit group of people who cared for one another. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but we had true fellowship. I knew when I moved here there was not a Messianic Congregation, so I would have to find a church. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time fitting in, no matter where we went. It was very disappointing to me. I kept trying to find what I had, and when I didn’t find it, we would move to another church. We went to at least 5 churches before we began attending the church where we are members now and have been since 2004.
Has it always been perfect at this church? No, and there were times I wanted to leave. It was difficult being in a church again after 10 years in a Messianic Congregation with two of those years living in Israel.
That was just part of it. I just viewed things a lot differently than most people in the church. It wasn’t a right or wrong thing, I was just different and I felt like a fish out of water. But finally I realized that no matter where I went or what church I attended, the problem wasn’t the church, it was me. I realized if I was ever going to grow and move on in my spiritual life, I had to stay put, and work at being a productive, contributing member of the church. It was a good place, bible-teaching with a good foundation and wonderful pastors, who prayed for us and loved us.
So about a year ago, I finally made the decision that I would stay there. I would not bother my husband with wanting to leave and try to find another place, because I was never going to find what I left. But I could find new and good things that God had for me if I was faithful enough to stay with it. That decision has made all the difference.
Is it easy being in a congregation and having to deal with people? No, but it’s worth it, and it makes us grow in the Lord, because we have to learn to appreciate one another. We have to learn to let things go that aren’t important, for the good of the Body. We have to learn that we aren’t always right, but even if we are, sometimes we have to let it go, because building the Kingdom of God together with other committed, covenant-keeping believers is more important.
Recently, a couple who had been coming to our Messianic Home Group got upset with something someone said at our meeting. The wife of the couple emailed us after she got home and was highly upset that we didn’t stop the person from saying what she said. We didn’t feel she said anything wrong, so we told her that is why we didn’t do anything about it. We tried to reason with her and find a harmonious ending, but she would not have it. To her, she was right and there was no compromise. She blocked our email address, so we could not communicate with her. This couple has not been in a congregation for years, because none of them will teach what they think they should. It’s easy to have this attitude like she did. She doesn’t have to make any sacrifices or bend her will for the good of others, because there are no others. It was a good reminder to me of the importance of being in a committed fellowship. It’s so easy to get into the “I am right” attitude, when we don’t fellowship regularly.
It’s kind of like the difference between bare wood and a white door that is beautiful to behold. I would rather be the white door. I would rather pray that the fruit of the Spirit is manifest in my life so I can bless others and allow them to bless me, as we work together for His kingdom. How about you?
Romans 12:4-5 (New International Version)
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Psalm 133:1 (King James Version)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!