Jul 16, 2016
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If you go to Tannum Sands just south of Gladstone in Central Queensland you will find two places of worship next to each other. One is the Uniting Church and one is the Jehovah Witnesses' Kingdom Hall. Both buildings and their grounds are kept in good order but there is a striking difference.
The Kingdom Hall is immaculate, its landscaped lawns are always mowed and it has a paved car park. The Uniting Church doesn't always have its lawn mowed, the back third of the property has gone wild and the car park is not paved. This difference in appearance also reflects a different understanding of God.
As I understand it the Jehova's Witnesses believe that they must earn their way to heaven by doing good deeds and getting everything right for God. Part of this is their service to the church including maintaining the church building. If they honour God through doing these things they will receive a place amongst the crowd in paradise. God will love them.
The Uniting Church people along with most other Christians believe something quite different. They believe that God already loves them. They believe that God came among us in Jesus. In him we saw what God was really like, and God loves us even before we love God. They do not have to do anything to earn that love. They do not have to go door to door, and God will still love them if the church lawn doesn't get mowed this week.
Yet the Uniting Church people still do mow the lawns. If one of them is sick, they will still pray for them, visit them and support them. They are involved in various kinds of community service and although they do not go from door to door they are willing to share what they believe with any who would hear.
If God loves them anyway why do they do this? It is I believe to say, "thank-you!" "Thank-you God for loving us and coming among us."
Questions for thought or discussion
If you have an important guest are you more like Mary taking time to sit and listen or are you like Martha striving to get everything right? What are the strenghts and weaknesses of each approach?
What motivates you to love God and your neighbour? What if anything do you hope to receive something in return?
How effective is thanksgiving as a motivator for loving the other?