FBC Midlothian church building

Owner vs User

I enjoy many things that I do not own. For example, I am an avid fisherman and love the outdoors. I have often dreamed of a 100-acre ranch where 90 acres were underwater! But my friend, Don, once described his experience with owning land and a lake. One day he looked out on the lake and saw a friend fishing. He realized that he had seen this friend on the water four times since he had been able to enjoy it himself. He said, “I was spending all of my time taking care of upkeep while my friends were enjoying all the benefits!” Note: Within 14 days, he had sold that ranch!

We all enjoy using things that we do not own. Whether it’s renting a home, borrowing toys, or visiting a vacation home, most people treat those things differently than the things they own. Likewise, employees and business owners operate on a completely different set of values. Although I’m not an “owner” per se, when the storm struck on Monday night, I certainly felt ownership or personal concern over our church, so about midnight, on the heels of the storm, I was driving around our campus to check for damage. But I was also driving around town to survey the damage and see if people were in trouble. I checked the ER lot to see if I saw unusual activity. I drove by the three senior living facilities to check on them. I drove the main street and gazed down residential streets and then headed for home.

Two things struck me. First, I saw some small business owners doing the same thing–they were concerned with their livelihood. Second, I found myself driving our community because I claim this community as my family. I wanted to know that things were okay. When I returned home, I saw a familiar pattern on social media blowing up my phone because others felt that way.

Question: How do you view your church family? Do you see it as little more than an institution of services you access when you need them? Or do you see your church as YOUR family, YOUR fellow disciples in a journey of growth and mission? How you see that will shape how you operate, relate, serve, and connect. On the best of days, we lean into those relationships, and we celebrate with those who celebrate and mourn with those who mourn. We’re “interconnected” in a way that pulls us toward Christ and each other. And our language changes from “the” church to “my” church.

On Tuesday morning, I turned toward home, noting a text from my wife asking if I was okay. My answer was mixed. As long as people were not injured or going through great grief over loss, I was okay. But if I learned of different news, I knew my own heart would be heavy. That’s what happens when you’re family, isn’t it?

Grateful today that we escaped the weather’s wrath. . .


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