NO BREAD IN THE HOUSE OF BREAD
One of the saddest realities of today is that the true church of Christ on earth seems to be shrinking. Christ already envisaged this even while He was on earth. Being the Omniscient One, He asked His disciples, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Sadly, the happenings around us today prove the necessity of this question Christ raised. Many of us may be confused by the many mega-churches all around the world today. And we’re tempted to say, “What other faith is the Son of Man looking for?” But I know for sure and the Spirit bears witness with me that the love of many has waxed cold. Many of our churches are emptying out and the ones that are not are being filled with “Christians” that can hardly be called disciples.
I have spent a great percentage of my Christian journey begging folks to attend church. We even guilt-trip them sometimes to think that they do not value our friendship when they do not honor our invitations. In more desperate scenarios, people get really angry and label others grave sinners for not coming to church. But to be honest, all I have learned in this time is that these tactics don’t work. When people who were once active in church and fervently serving the Lord begin to leave in their numbers, do we ask sincere questions? When our societies are being run over by an increasing number of atheists, do we ever stop to ask why?
The Gospel of Manipulation
Imagine if you went to a bakery that bears the sign, “Open”. And all you find is bread crumbs. No bread, neither fresh nor stale, the place’s just empty. How would you feel about that? In the Old Testament, the showbread or the “Bread of the Presence” connoted the presence of the Lord. And that is what we’re missing now. There’s a truth the church of our time is evading. That truth is that God is not present in many of our meetings. We’ve locked Him out; with all of our meticulous planning and love for showbiz. And this is why people don’t attend these meetings anymore. Some come once and they never return. You see, the reason why folks come to church and play with their phones the whole time is that they do not sense anything worthy of reverence in our meetings. You’ve got the best music, so what? I can find that at a musical concert. You’ve got the smoothest talking preacher, so what? He’s got nothing on many motivational speakers I know. Give me something I can’t find somewhere else!
So, the church is getting smarter now. We decide to “spice up” our services. People are being enticed with the gospel of manipulation. We tell them that if they come around, they’ll find healing. And that if they’re not getting healed, then their faith is not enough. But we forget that they have enough faith to keep them coming week in week out. We make sure the music is just perfect and tell them they’re having an encounter. But it doesn’t take long before they decipher the truth and are embittered. It’s high time we became sincere with ourselves. We need to stop offering the world a God that we haven’t found ourselves. Whether we admit it or not, people will discover the truth.
No Quick Fix
The problem at times is that even after we recognize what must be done to salvage the situation, we are not willing to go all the way. Only true repentance can invite the Presence of God in our midst. Many of us recognize this. But we don’t like the sound of repentance. Our flesh detests it. Our flesh understands that repentance spells its death. So, it won’t permit us to take that route. But we have to put it under. The prize is too high as compared to the price. What lengths will we not go to have God manifest in our midst?
We need to stop looking for the easy way out. Our talents and brilliance can attract people to church. But only an encounter in the presence of God can keep them in the faith. There’s a spiritual void in man that nothing else can fill. And unless God takes that place, he will only keep searching in frustration. We need to stop “wasting” people’s time in church. If there’s no showbread, then don’t gather them for nothing. We need to reach that consensus just like Moses that if your presence is not with us, then we ain’t gonna play church.
The People Will Come
In the book of Ruth, because of the famine in the land, Naomi left Bethlehem in search of greener pastures. But all she found in Moab was death and destruction. She literally lost all that she had. And this is the case with many today. They’ve left the church in search of “greater things”. However, pride and ego will not permit them to admit that they’re losing everything. But do you know what? The moment Naomi heard there was bread in Bethlehem again, she headed straight back home. And she wasn’t alone! She came with her Gentile daughter-in-law. And this is the beauty of the presence of God. If we can woo the Lord and have Him hang around long enough, everything changes. The prodigals will return and they will bring their never-before-saved friends too. So, ask yourself. What if God really showed up in our midst? What if we can somehow convince Him to stay? Wouldn’t it all be worth it?