I rarely feel so vulnerable as when I am at the eye doctor. I have bad vision, so when I take my contacts out for the exam, I feel like I have no defense. By the time I can identify someone, they are so close to me that we might as well be kissing.
Yes, I’m myopic. I asked the optometrist what the opposite is. I haven’t needed to know since I don’t have to worry about that. It’s apparently called “hyperopia.”
While I was sitting at the eye doctors with my eyes dilated thinking how vulnerable I felt, I also came up with a spiritual application.
Some churches may be stricken with myopia. Reading through the litany of programs in the bulletin, you wonder if families in the church have any evenings to themselves. These programs may even be doing good and providing Bible training and discipleship. However, suggest cutting one of these very necessary and helpful programs to give more to missions and you have sown the wind. Prepare to reap the whirlwind!
Martha was a woman who wanted to do so much for Jesus, but she got too busy for Jesus Himself. (Luke 10:38-42)
It’s hard to judge if a church is myopic. How many missionaries does the church support? Do they know about and pray for persecuted Christians around the world? If a church has a children’s or youth program of some sort every day of the week, but they don’t know that there are children whose parents are in prison for being Christians… that church might be myopic. (Matthew 25:31-40)
The opposite can be true. I’ll try not to get on a soapbox here, but sometimes churches can be concerned to much with saving the world that their own members and neighbors are falling to the wayside.
Hezekiah was one of Judah’s most righteous kings. Yet his own son was one of the worst kings Judah had. I don’t want to seem like I’m blaming Hezekiah. The Bible doesn’t talk about his child-raising methods or lack of them. I just wanted to point out that it can be very easy to forget that we have a ministry to those closest to us.
There is nothing wrong with being a missions-driven church. That’s fantastic. Do the leaders and pastors know the people in the pews? Is there outreach in the neighborhoods? Do they know the needs of the community? Are there enough Biblically-grounded mentors in the pews that those who attend are growing deeper in the Word and feeling part of the church? If the church has such a grand vision that the individuals get lost in the cracks, the church might be hyperopic.
Finding that balance is difficult, and no local corporate church body, and no individual will do things perfectly all the time. What can we do practically? Well, it never hurts to give our money to missions, our time to discipleship, and our prayers to those in need…whether near or far away.