“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
On August 21, 1973, a little girl named Christy was born. There were costs attached to her from the moment she was born. Her father had to work two jobs to pay the hospital bill. As she grew from a baby to a little girl, she cost even more. Her dresses and shoes were expensive as well as the doctor visits through all those childhood diseases.
Christy was even more expensive during her school and teen years. She needed dresses for formals and proms. Her parents paid for her first car. The cost for insurance for that car was outrageous. When she went to college, there were college expenses not listed in the catalog. Tuition was bad enough, but there were also costs associated with books, campus parking fees, rent, and groceries. In her senior year of college, Christy met Josh. They fell in love and got married. The wedding cost a tremendous amount of money. Five months after her marriage, Christy was diagnosed with cancer. She was dead within a year. She has not cost a penny since the day her family walked away from her grave.
If a church is alive, there will be a cost. The more alive a church is, the greater the cost. Only a dead church, like a dead child, no longer has a cost.
What price are you willing to pay for your church? I’m not talking about a financial cost, although that may be part of it. Right now, there is a battle in the United States over the church. Many government officials are using the COVID-19 crisis to push an ungodly agenda. It is like a cancer trying to kill the church. Governors in most states have issued orders restricting churches. One governor ordered police to go through church parking lots, write down license plate numbers, and issue fines to the attendees. People attending a “drive-in” church service in Greenville, Mississippi were given $500 citations. Your telling me you can “drive-in” to McDonalds and get a Quarter Pounder, but you can’t “drive-in” to church and worship the Lord Jesus Christ.
The question comes down to the definition of “essential.” Only “essential” services can remain open. When the coronavirus hit, I called and emailed several federal, state, and local elected officials and I asked them, “Is church essential?” Most of them refused to answer. In my way of thinking, not answering was an answer of, “No.” However, one local politician that I spoke with on the phone answered with a flat-out, “No! Churches are not essential.” We are living in a time where liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries, and abortion clinics, are considered essential, but the blood-bought church is not.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want anyone to get sick. I believe that you should take all precautions to maintain health and safety. But the U.S. Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Yet we are seeing that happen and it’s being justified as a public health issue. When a Governor orders that anyone going to church is a criminal that can be punished by jail time and fines, that ought to cause concern for all Americans. That is unconstitutional.
The point is: To keep the church alive, there will be a cost. Jesus paid a price for the church. It cost His precious blood. Since Jesus paid such a cost for His church, I, for one, am not willing to sit by and watch her be killed. I will pay any price to keep the church alive.
Is church essential? Jesus thought so, and so do I.
What about you?
James Collins is the senior pastor of First Southern Baptist Church where “Drive-In Church” will be held this Sunday. Find out more information at www.fortscottfsbc.com.