In the previous post about being fed, I said at the end that there was another reason that we shouldn't depend on the church to feed us, and that reason is that we are a part of the church--and we don't eat ourselves. We shouldn't rely on music or sermons to fill us. When we put our need to be filled on other people, when we expect to be filled with those things--the music, the sermon, the fellowship, the prayers, the offering, the everything that happens in a worship service, we are not being filled with Jesus. All of the experiences we have in church or Bible study should actually be our forks and spoons. They are helpful in delivering the food to us, but those things are not the food.
Think about that for a minute. Or more than a minute. Take as long as you want, because I think it is something that is going to be difficult to wrap our brains around. I think that our beliefs and what we often practice are at odds with each other when it comes to "being fed".
If we were attending a Bible study or even hearing a sermon about the following verses, we would probably nod along and agree with them. Why would we disagree? There's nothing terribly controversial here.
- Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. --John 6:35
- I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. --Ephesians 3:18-19
- Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. --Ephesians 5:18-20
But what do these tell us about how we should be filled? With the church? No! We are the church. We don't fill up on ourselves. We are to be filled with Jesus, we are to be filled with the fullness of God, we are to be filled with the Spirit! Are our churches equipping us for that?
I guess, then, as I think about this particular qualification on choosing a church, instead of thinking of it as a place where I can be fed, I need to instead ask myself "are utensils provided?"