I had just one grandparent when I was growing up. My Grandma was seventy-nine years old when I was born, and she lived to be ninety-seven years old. So, I always knew her as an old lady. But she had a lot of spunk to her, all ninety-five pounds of her. I remember she had an old wooden cutting board in her kitchen. I don’t how old it was, but it was probably purchased from Methuselah’s Kitchen Outlet. It was cracked and nearly falling apart. The board had deep furrows in it from the thousands of cuts made on it. Grandma liked her cutting board.
For Mother’s Day one year my Dad bought her a nice brand new cutting board. And guess what my Grandma did? She put the new board in the back of her cupboard and continued to use her nasty old cutting board. Whenever my Mom or my sisters were in her house and helped her in the kitchen, they were not about to touch that old board because it was like a bacteria trap with its deep grooves. But Grandma didn’t care about bacteria or that it was falling apart. When my Dad asked her why she did not use her new cutting board, she simply answered, “Oh, it is much too nice to use.” But we all knew that was just Grandma’s way of saying that she liked her nasty old cutting board, and didn’t think it was all that bad.
Sometimes churches and Christians can be like my Grandma, bless her stubborn old heart. They just like the way they do things, and really don’t see what another person sees who doesn’t know Jesus. They just don’t realize that unsaved people have absolutely no emotional attachment to the cutting board; they just see a nasty old board that they would never use.
Sometimes we don’t realize how overwhelming and even intimidating church can be for someone who needs Jesus. Because we are around our respective churches all the time, we don’t see what others see. Just imagine being in a new place with people you don’t know. Are you nervous? Does it help to have someone you know bring you and introduce you to people? Is it beneficial to have someone let you know what is happening and what is going on? I remember walking into a beautiful new church building and sitting down and seeing a huge old pulpit that was literally falling apart. Since I’ve been around a lot of churches, I quickly discerned it was likely the old pulpit from the old church building. It was. But, honestly, I had zero emotional attachment to the pulpit, and it was a distraction because it just looked like a big old ratty collar on a new puppy.
The point is this: The decision to change our lives, or not to change, must be motivated by upholding a biblical purpose and a scriptural value. Our purpose is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Our values are the Great Commandment (love God and love neighbor). We are to make disciples, and, as believers in Jesus, we are to be characterized by our devotion to teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer in such a daily manner that others are coming to know Jesus (Acts 2:41-47). So, how are we holding up to that template of the Christian life?
If our purpose is people coming to know Christ, then we are always to be making decisions based upon that standard. If any church is reaching new people for Christ and helping them to grow spiritually, then there is no need to change – there is nothing to be fixed. But if the church has not seen a person come to faith in Christ in the last year, right there is a significant reason to change. If a church has not seen anyone come to Christ in the last five years, that church is eating meat prepared on a cutting board full of bacteria and it is making that church sick.
Have we known Jesus Christ for so long that we take the old cutting board for granted and just expect other people to use it if they are in our kitchen? Or do we have a vision, a motivation, and a driving desire to see people, a lot of them, come to saving faith in Jesus Christ? If you don’t like empty seats or pews in your church, then the biblical solution to it is to change our lives, change our practices, change our speech, and change our daily behavior by reaching people for Jesus and adding them to the church. Change, or the lack of it, for any other reason than evangelism, is the wrong reason to change.
Just so you know, after about a year sitting in my Grandma’s cupboard, my Dad took out the new cutting board, put it on the kitchen counter and threw away the old board. It was about time.