The hospital. A place of joy. A place of sorrow. A place of birth. A place of death.
The church. A place of joy. A place of sorrow. A place of (re)birth. A place of death(to your old self).
A doctor. A well studied person. Experienced in the workings of the body. Goal is to “do no harm”, to prevent illness and save their patients from death.
Jesus. Also known as “The Great Physician” for miraculously healing people of physical ailments. Walked the earth for 33 years as a human to have and understand the human experience, and yet lived perfectly, without sin. Offers eternal life, death to our physical body but life with Him after, through baptism and a faithful walk on earth.
The Church is a Hospital for the Broken
It may seem odd to compare a hospital to a church, until you put them side by side and compare their goals. The end game is the same. To escape death.
How they achieve this goal, of course, is very different. A hospital aims to treat the physical body. To kill the infection, stop the bleeding, help the body heal itself so a person can go home and continue to live.
The church is focused on the mind, heart, and spirit. The church knows that the physical body will decay, that we can escape death for a time and yet, when it comes, we will move onto a better place, heaven.
In heaven, there will be no more ailments, no more disappointments, no more tears. There will be no more healing needed because we have escaped death through eternal life.
While the doctor is considered the pillar of the care, their work is not possible without their support staff. The nurses, the administration, the janitor, the security guard, and the billing department (everyone’s favorite!).
Many people make up the payroll of the hospital and along with the doctor, keep the place running. Without each of them, the job of saving lives can’t be done. They all need to work together to bring healthcare to the people.
The Church is a Place for Sinners
The same could be said about the church members. We are not Jesus, the Great Physician who can heal with words or the touch of his hand. And yet, He needs us, the church, as His support staff. We have been given the job of spreading the gospel, often known as the Great Commission, a charge Jesus gives His disciples once they see him after miraculously coming back to life after his crucifixion.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
As Christains, we have been given the job to go out and show the world who Jesus is. He is no longer physically with us to preach and heal as He did when He was on earth. He is counting on us to show who He is. We are His support staff, “ambassadors” if you will, to share the news of Jesus’ life and death.
While having dinner with the disciples, just before He would be betrayed and killed on a cross, Jesus washes His disciples feet. A loving gesture of service from the leader to His followers, at their last meal together. As Jesus tells the disciples that He will be leaving them soon and gives them a new commandment
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35
It is by showing love that we show people Jesus. When we show them Jesus working in our lives and why we are “different” (in the best way!) then those walking without Him in the world around us will notice. We should also take every opportunity to boldly share our faith and not just follow Him quietly in a corner.
Letting Your Light Shine
Before my kids leave for school in the morning, I always say “shine your light” in reference to Matthew 4:14-16 to remind us that we are ambassadors of Jesus and how we present ourselves can either point people towards or away from Him.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
May we (the church) all shine our light towards Jesus.
Are hospitals perfect? Nope.
Are churches perfect? Not even close.
Both places are full of humans who often make mistakes. Romans 3:23 reminds us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”. We are all sinners who have messed up and are in need of a Savior, even those in the church. The difference between those of us “in” the church and those not, is that we recognize our brokenness and need for redemption.
Hospitals are for the sick and so is the church. The truth is though, we don’t get out of either alive. The only way to evade death is to become a baptized, faithful Christian. We would love to talk to you more about Jesus and His church.