During Sheri’s battle with cancer we made several trips to Houston, Texas, where she received some wonderful treatment. She had surgery at MD Anderson Hospital. Having spent much time there, we were both so grateful for those in the medical profession—doctors, nurses, technicians, etc.—not only in Houston, but also here in Carrollton at Tanner Medical Center. We are so fortunate to have a great hospital here, where those whose bodies are sick can get help.
If you go to Houston and your shoe gets sick, they have a hospital for that too. Seriously, on several busy streets we saw their signs, Houston Shoe Hospital. I don’t know if they have EKGs for shoes or if they do CT scans to diagnose the problem. All I know is, if your shoe is sick, you can take it to the Houston Shoe Hospital. If you have a “heel” problem, they can heal that or if you have a “sole” problem, then they can diagnose it and fix it. What a country!
I have always said that the church is a hospital for sinners. Our attitude at church should be that none of us are perfect; we all have flaws, so come to church and join us. You should not have to clean up your act (get well) before coming to church. I do believe that with all my heart.
There are a lot of people who won’t accept an invitation to church. Try it. You’ll see. People tend not to think of the church as a place where one goes to find happiness or to get help.
The late Erma Bombeck told the story of the mother and son in church. The child is grinning at everyone. He is not squirming or kicking. He is not spitting or tearing hymnals. None of that. He is just smiling at everyone. His mother says to him, “Stop that grinning. You’re in church.”
Now he begins to cry and with tears running down his cheeks, she says, “That’s better.”
Church should be a place of happiness, smiling, and rejoicing. All the time? No, but it should be a happy place. We do believe in resurrection, don’t we?
People think of the church as a place you go after you have cleaned up your life, not before. Many people have the notion that church is a place of cold morality and not happy grace, and so they don’t respond to the invitation. As a prostitute once said to a preacher, “Church, why would I ever go there? I already feel terrible about myself. They’d just make me feel worse.”
You might be surprised at how many people have had bad experiences at church. A minister went to make a house call once and knocked on the door. No answer. He knew a family had moved into the house and there were signs of life everywhere, cars and kid’s toys. He went back the next day. After knocking, finally a little boy came to the door. “Hi,” said the preacher.
“Hi,” said the little boy. Then the mother came to the door and invited him in.
While the mother was in the kitchen, the little boy explained to the preacher, “I saw you here yesterday, but my mother hid in the closet.” You never know what kind of religious experience someone has had and why they turn down the invitation to receive the gospel. Some folk have been scared off by the church.
I know some people (mostly men) who won’t go to the hospital no matter how sick they are. They are scared of hospitals the same way some people are scared of church.
Most ministers don’t bite; neither do most doctors and nurses. The experience at church is rather painless, except for the occasional bad sermon.
See you Sunday at your nearest shoe, oops I mean, church hospital.