Yesterday I bumped into a friend I hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to in a while. We were talking and catching up and then the inevitable question came up, “Well how are things going with you?” I gave the typical ‘good’, ‘busy’, responses and then reflected, “It’s funny, we thought we could have a life outside of the church…” And we both laughed a bit about it. But I haven’t been able to get away from that thought. You see as a pastor, my life is centered around the church. Even on my days off, its not really something you turn off. Our family schedule centers around the church. Our interactions inevitably are somehow based around the church and if you want to have a conversation with us, more than likely you will most easily catch us being involved in church-related activities. And honestly, I don’t think of that regretfully at all.
Paul was writing to the church in Colossae when he had this to say, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3 Let me clarify something really quick before we keep going, although I may have referred to a specific congregation/schedule/building above, we need to understand that the church is none of those things specifically. The church is a living, breathing, Holy Spirit birthed people of God who are collectively known as the Bride of Christ. So when Paul says, set your mind on things above, or your life is now hidden in Christ, he is redefining the way in which we go about our lives in the here and now.
I think about all the things that vie for our attention and time these days. We have jobs, school, sports, politics, household chores, bills, play-dates, parties, gym time, etc. etc. and these are how we order our lives. But Paul asks us to set our mind on things above…How then do we do that? We order our lives around the church. And I’m not talking about being in the church every time the doors are open (although every pastor would appreciate that), but I am talking about ordering your life, your conversation, your rhythm around a living community of God known as the church.
One quick illustration of what this does for us. My wife and I recently were at the AT&T store getting her a new phone and the question came up, “Well, what do you do?” “I’m a pastor.” And all of a sudden we found ourselves opening up the door for a conversation, that led to a church visit, that led to this same individual possibly playing in our praise band for Sunday services. Now do all of us have this easy access point into conversations about church i.e. ‘I’m a pastor’? No. But if our lives our hidden in Christ, if our lives our ordered around the church, if our lives reflect our ultimate priority, then we will start to see God use us in new and amazing ways everyday. May you find your life hidden in Christ as you live out the calling of the Bride of Christ, the church today.