Hospital or Museum?
In Pastor CJ’s message on Sunday he mentioned metaphors and used his story about the Eiffel Tower. It got me wondering, is the description I am giving with the way I live my life and the words I say portraying an accurate picture of Jesus? Another metaphor that keeps nagging at my mind is the saying, “the church is a hospital for the hurting, not a museum for the saints.” I’ve heard this comparison for years and but often just wrote it off as a typical Christian saying. When I really thought about it, I began to realize it is a mistake that we make as a church all the time.
In the challenge to evangelize to the lost, we often want those we are trying to reach to “clean up” and come to church with us on Sunday. If we look at Scripture and what Jesus did, the idea that people need to clean up or change to come to church is completely backwards. Imagine with me for a second, I go to the hospital with a severe cold, coughing, fever, runny nose, and I need to get a prescription. Before I am able to have the medicine I need to see the doctor. I wonder what it would be like trying to sit in the waiting room of the ER masking my symptoms for fear the guards would kick me out if I let a cough or evidence of my illness slip out. Wouldn’t that seem so backwards?
We often make this mistake as Christians and expect everyone that comes into our church to act and say the right things. If our church is really reaching the lost and doing what Jesus did our church will look much more like a hospital full of hurt people needing to see the great physician, than a boring museum. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
I think we tend to make this mistake when get a case of “role reversal.” We try to play the part of the doctor when we should be playing the role of the supportive friend. Instead of attempting to fix people, sometimes it’s better to simply bring people to the hospital and sit in the waiting room with your arm around the shoulder of the hurt and wounded. Jesus is the ultimate healer and restorer and if we can simply make the introduction the possibilities are endless!
The church isn’t a place where people need to have it all together; it is a place where people can come as they are before the Lord and each other, finding healing in the process. As a church let’s decide to operate more like a hospital. Simply put, we are to bring people to Jesus as they are and allow him to be the physician.