“Thermometer or Thermostat?”
You know there is a difference. Right?
I grew up living in the middle floor apartment of a three-story building that my dad owned across the street from his diner. Below us was another apartment and above were seven individual rooms, a shower area, and two bathrooms. He owned and managed it all. That included the heat and it was our apartment that held the thermostat.
Regardless of how cold it was during those late fall days in Chicago, the heat would not be turned on until October 31st. Regardless of how cold it could be late April and early May, the heat would be turned off April 15th. It was his building, he paid the heating bills, and he set the thermostat.
Never once did I hear him going around to the roomers (as he called them) asking if they were comfortable. Although that practice is unheard of today because we are all about customer service, back then no one expected more.
This brings me back to the understanding of God’s people – The Church.
In an era of excessive consumerism and over the top customer service, the Church has allowed itself to fall in line with the culture where the primary concern is making sure everyone is comfortable and taken care of. Made to order spirituality is the expectation, and short attention spans are kept in focus through a myriad of sensory experiences: the right music played by the right instruments, the proper length of messages with words that do not offend, the use of rituals whether meaningful or not. We have mistakenly used “for good order” to advance our own preferences, water down the message, or remain comfortable in the past. We have replaced the Absolute Thermostat of God’s Word with our own churchly thermometer. Instead of serving the ultimate landlord (God), we spend our time constantly checking on whether or not the tenants are content with worship or approve of decisions.
Meanwhile, the lost die every day. That was the necessity of Jesus and the grandiosity of his message. Jesus was and is countercultural. He set the tone and urgency for every group of people that came to Him and through His Word, does the same for us.
Jesus set the thermostat for the world. The Church that follows Truth, sets the thermostat for the time and culture they serve in. It is not the other way around: the world does not set the tone and attitude of the Church! The words and actions of Christ-like people are to remain consistent whether embraced or excluded. We serve only one Master and serve only out of gratitude: to spread His message, love the unlovable, and seek and save the lost.
This is God’s world. He paid the price and He sets the rules. Be a thermostat not a thermometer. It is how we truly connect people to the love of Jesus.
In Partnership with You –