I woke up musing on how many Christians feel like “they must be fed” — there are some in network marketing or traditional jobs who want their upline or boss to do it for them — many adult children perpetually living at home without a legit reason to do so — and so on.
It would be easy to dismiss that as a spirit of entitlement or greed, or codependency, but I believe it’s bigger than that … People who do this feel unworthy to do it themselves or they feel unwanted in a situation, and so by demanding that someone feed them, they give themselves a false sense of security – and then if someone doesn’t, it validates the orphan spirit within them.
What would happen (in any setting – church, business, families) if EVERYONE brought food, came to the table, and sat down together to share food and eat? Some will bring a main dish and some will swing by Bojangles, someone will make a banana pudding from scratch (including milking the cow to get the milk to make the pudding) and someone else will run by Walmart for a bag of Oreos, but that isn’t the point – all contribute. And then, upon being seated together, each one picks up their own fork and eats.
It’s not up to your leaders to feed you.
Let’s take this to a church setting. It’s not the pastor’s job to slap a bib on you, buckle you into a high-chair, and spoon-feed you for 30 minutes once a week. It’s the job of five-fold ministry to equip the saints for the work of ministry (which is actually to go and teach others to feed themselves).
To continue my analogy from above, you should show up at church on Sunday morning with a green bean casserole. Your spouse might have an apple pie. You sit down with folks who’ve brought the potato salad and slaw, pitchers of sweet tea, bottles of cokes, bags of chips, cold fried chicken…The worship leader, teachers, preachers, prophets will bring main dishes. (now I’m getting hungry – aren’t you? Doesn’t this sound use like a church potluck?).
Over the course of that service, every item on the menu will be tasted. YOUR gift will be enjoyed by all. Some people’s gifts will be enjoyed by others over a microphone or through hands-on prayer, and some may not be seen so directly – like those who clean up all the tissues on the floor after the end of service, and those who stay in the secret place and pray.
What’s more, people were never designed to eat only on Sunday mornings.
Many churches operate more like an orphanage – it’s the leader’s job to cook all the food, and to purée it, and to spoon-feed it to each and every congregant at each and every service. Though the institution might have been founded out of love and concern, quickly the leader starts to get worn out, resentful of those they’re called to care for, and disinterested. The meals get simpler and simpler and the children become more and more malnourished.
When people feed themselves and others, everyone is healthy and well nourished together.
Are you getting this?