”What do you do for a living?” I hear that question over and over as I travel. I could say I’m a professional meeting-er. I’ve spent my life attending meetings.
I could write my autobiography and name each chapter after a meeting. Chapter 1: Youth Pastor Search Committee Meeting. Chapter 2: Finance Committee Meeting. Chapter 3: Youth Committee Meeting. Chapter 4: Another Finance Committee Meeting. Chapter 5: House and Grounds Committee Meeting. Chapter 6: Bus Committee Meeting. Chapter 7: Still Another Finance Committee Meeting. Chapter 8: Personnel Committee Meeting. Chapter 9: Youth Pastor Search Committee Meeting (a different church this time). Chapter 10: Yet Another Finance Committee Meeting.
Yes, I still find myself going from meeting to meeting. Once when I was an associate pastor, I was on 21 committees at the same time. We even had a Committee on Committees. We Baptists love our committee meetings. Wasn’t it John the Baptist who invented them? A Baptist church with only two members would have at least three committees. Non-believers go to hockey games as much for the fights as for the competition. After you become a believer, you attend church meetings and expect the same kind of action. Why can’t we just get along?
A Navy ship was doing maneuvers in the middle of the Pacific Ocean when the officers came upon a deserted, uncharted island. Puzzled, they decided to explore. As they arrived on the beach, they were greeted by a lone man, extremely excited to see them. He told them he had been stranded there for 30 years and had survived by fishing and gathering coconuts.
The officer noticed the man had built three huts. They asked him to give them a tour and explain how he used these small buildings. He took them to the first one and said, “This is my home.” Next, he showed them the second and said, “This is my church.”
They all stood around for a while when an officer asked, “And what about the third hut?”
“That’s where I used to go church.”
“Ahh, you must be a Baptist!” the officers concluded.
We can’t even get along with ourselves. But Jesus told us the greatest hallmark of His followers was that we love one another: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). We have committees to monitor the money, the mission endeavors, the thermostat and even those that check on other committees. But if love was so important to Jesus, shouldn’t we have one that monitors how much we truly love one another?
If we did, we should call it the One Another Committee because the Bible has so much to say about one another: “Be devoted to one another in love” (Rom. 12:10); “Serve one another humbly in love” (Gal. 5:13); “Bear each other’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2); “Encourage one another” (1 Thess. 4:18); “Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Eph. 4:32); “Instruct one another” (Rom. 15:14); “Encourage one another” (1 Thess. 5:11) and a host of others. The One Another Committee would do more than just hold meetings. It would change the world.
In the end, it’s not the volume of the organ or the color of the carpet that brings people to Jesus. He told us how the world will know we belong to Him: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Could it be that we don’t love one another because we’re too busy clinging to our rights? Jesus gave up his rights as God to live and walk among us. He was subject to the same temptations as we are, but he didn’t earn His place on the cross; not one single sin was His. Instead, He gave up His rights to have a relationship with us. And relationship should be the biggest desire for those who follow Him—the kind of relationship that says, “Your needs matter more than mine.”
When we start loving one another as Jesus loved us, watch out, world! That love will spill over into the highways and byways of life. I don’t know why, but while I am writing this, one song keeps running through my mind: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” The Holy Spirit sure sounds a lot like Dionne Warwick today.
Since our church doesn’t have a One Another Committee, I guess I’ll appoint myself as a committee of one to monitor how I’m doing. I know I’m a little late, but it’s never too late to say, “You matter to God and you matter to me.” Happy Love One Another Day!