The Church. A Lighthouse or a Club?

My previous devotion marked the 40th one published electronically. I thank God for the opportunity and privilege He has granted me to write for His glory. I pray that Lighthouse Devotions have blessed you in some way and I look forward to many more inspirations that will encourage you to keep shining the light of Jesus. Today I’d like to share with you someone else’s inspiration and pray that it too ministers to your life.

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Parable of a lighthouse

On a dangerous seacoast notorious for shipwrecks, there was a crude little lifesaving station.  Actually, it was merely a hut with only one boat, but the few members kept a constant watch over the turbulent sea.  With little thought for themselves, they would go out day & night tirelessly searching for those in danger as well as the lost.  Many lives were saved by this brave band who faithfully worked as a team in and out of the lifesaving station.  By and by, it became a famous place.

Some of those who had been saved, as well as others along the seacoast, wanted to become associated with this little station.  They were willing to give their time, energy and money in support of its objectives.  New boats were purchased.  New crews were trained.  The station, once obscure and crude and virtually insignificant, began to grow.  Some of its members were unhappy the hut was so unattractive and poorly equipped.  They felt a more comfortable place should be provided.  Emergency cots were replaced with lovely furniture.  Rough, handmade equipment was discarded and sophisticated, classy systems were installed.  The hut, of course, had to be torn down to make room for all the additional equipment, furniture, and systems.  By the time of its completion, the lifesaving station had become a popular gathering place, and its objectives had begun to shift.  It was now used as a sort of clubhouse, an attractive building for public gathering.  Saving lives, feeding the hungry, strengthening the fearful, and calming the disturbed rarely occurred.

Fewer members were interested in braving the sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired professional lifeboat crews to do this work.  The original goal of the station wasn’t altogether forgotten, however. Lifesaving motifs still prevailed in the club’s decorations. There was a liturgical lifeboat preserved in the Room of Sweet Memories with soft, indirect lighting, which helped hide the layer of dust upon the once-used vessel. About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast and the boat crews brought in loads of cold, wet, half-drowned people.  They were dirty, some terribly sick and lonely.  Others were “different” from the majority of the club members. The beautiful new club suddenly became messy and cluttered. 

A special committee saw to it that a shower house was immediately built outside, away from the club so victims of the shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.  At the next meeting there were strong words and angry feelings, which resulted in a division among the members.

 Most of the people wanted to stop the club’s lifesaving activities and all involvements with shipwreck victims.  As you’d expect, some still insisted on saving lives, that this was their primary objective – that their only reason for existence was ministering to anyone needing help regardless of their club’s beauty or size or decorations.  They were voted down and told if they wanted to save the lives of various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own lifesaving station down the coast!  They did.

As the years passed, the new station experienced the same old changes.  It evolved into another club – and yet another lifesaving station was begun.  History repeated itself. And if you visit that coast today you’ll find a large number of exclusive, impressive clubs along the shoreline owned and operated by slick professionals who have lost all involvement with the saving of lives. 

Shipwrecks still occur in those waters, but now most of the victims are not saved.  Every day they drown at sea, and so few others seem to care . . . so very few.    —Author Unkown

This parable, unfortunately, describes the spiritual and to some degree physical condition of many churches today. In a time when the church needs to stand out as the place where people can find relief from the madness of this depraved world, it is imperative that we do not lose our focus and the true purpose for which God saved us and deposited His light in us. May we never get too comfortable in our gatherings as to convert the church into a club. May we always be the place of refuge that souls come to and find love, comfort, healing, hope, and salvation. For there are still many lost and drowning in the turbulent seas of life.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Church. A Lighthouse or a Club?

  1. Powerful and true. Lord help us! I have seen how some Churches do ‘church’ and many have forgotten the reason why it’s called church. Many are not reached because we don’t go out to get them. I pray God continue to use you as a mouthpiece, as a lighthouse to continue to warn others and remind them of God’s great love and purpose. Love you my sweetheart. Mari, your wife.

    Liked by 1 person

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