What does it matter? Only this, that in every way, whether for outward appearance or for the truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and in this I rejoice. Philippians 1:18. (EHV).
I once lived in an Oklahoma town where there are churches named “1st”, “2nd”, and “3rd Baptist Church”. It’s a little over the top but I’m serious! So, apparently, are the members of these churches because they all originated with the 1st Baptist Church and, sometime in the last 100 years, split into three churches over small, internal disputes. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Christ is proclaimed, likely to more people than before the splits.
And over the years, I’ve belonged to quite a few churches; I’ve attended even more. Yet in Christ I will boast that my current church, Water’s Edge, preaches Christ crucified no matter where you go. My friend Mark, the lead pastor, openly, enthusiastically, and with tears welcomes new members. It’s hard for a church to grow without them! Yet he also enthusiastically gives glory to Jesus when members are led elsewhere because Christ is being proclaimed, then, in other places. Just worship, even if it isn’t here.
Kanye: whether or not his conversion is genuine doesn’t matter. What matters is that so many new people heard about Jesus.
Finally, one of my favorite American legends is that of Johnny Appleseed, the wandering preacher of the early 1800s who went from town to town, ministering to new friends and planting apple seeds as he traveled. He did this so that other pioneers would have apples to eat. That’s kind of my model for faith in Jesus. We’re to believe, follow, and share the faith a little at a time. Plant some seeds but keep moving forward in faith, in Jesus.
Sharing like Johnny Appleseed so that someone may have something to live on after we’ve done our part. Sharing like Kanye, who has a giant megaphone to which many people are listening. Sharing like Pastor Mark, who plants the seed of faith and trusts Jesus to grow it where it needs to grow best. And sharing like the folks who go to all those numbered Baptist churches in McAlester, moving to where they believe they hear the word of God best.
In the end, what does it matter whether the name on the church is one thing or another, whether we’re worshipping with the LCMS or WELS or whatever denominations, or whether a celebrity is more down for the Jesus struggle than you or me? What does it matter whether we plant one seed or a thousand so long as the tree grows? The ONLY thing that matters is sharing Jesus the best we can. Some will do that boldly, others meekly. The only thing that matters is that we do it.
For further reading: Acts 16:7, 2 Corinthians 1:11, Philemon 22, Philippians 1:19
Lord Jesus, I pray Your help to share Your word with others today.