A Marriage Made in Heaven

October 01, 2005 | Karl Haffner

Paul Harvey shared the true story of a woman who called the Butterball Turkey Company hot line that was set up to answer consumer questions about preparing turkeys. This woman inquired about cooking a turkey that had been in her freezer for 23 years. The Butterball representative told her the turkey would probably be safe to eat but said the flavor would have deteriorated to such a degree that it would not be tasty.

The caller replied, “That's what I thought. We'll give the turkey to our church.” [1]

It’s time to talk turkey with regard to the church. How often does the church get our stale seconds? Our casual commitments?

In Ephesians 5:25–32, the apostle Paul tells us that God is so committed to His church that “He gave Himself up” for it. The passage concludes by quoting Genesis 2, which describes what happens in a marriage—a man and a woman become one flesh. Then Paul clarifies that the Genesis story refers to the union of Christ with His church. Bottle up all the love and emotions and passion of a wedding and you begin to get a picture of how God feels about His church.

Now contrast Christ’s heart for the church with the ho-hum attitude you see today. I’ve heard people say, “Church is one of several options on Sabbath morning. Play video games, go four-wheeling, sleep in, go to church—whatever tickles my fancy, I do.”

Imagine if I had tried that on my wedding day: “Ah, Cherié, I intend to come to our wedding—as long as my buddies and I are done golfing. But if some of the guys want to go out to Dairy Queen after the round, then I’ll be a little late, or perhaps I’ll go four-wheeling instead.” Had I said that, I’d be a single man.

I suspect Cherié’s response would have been just as prickly had I told her, “I have lots of friends getting married today, so I’ll just wait and see which wedding I decide to attend. I hear the Livingstons have a great preacher officiating at their wedding, so I may go there. Or the Ungers have some hot music planned for their wedding, maybe I’ll check that out.” I could have said that since we had several friends—including the Livingstons and the Ungers—who got married on the same day as we did. But I never considered skipping my wedding to attend another.

And yet how many people approach church with a similar attitude? “I’m going to First Church today because they have a funny preacher from out of town. Next week I’m going to Main Street Fellowship because they have a hot worship band.” The result? We’re raising a generation of twitterpation junkies that scurry to the most electric worship one week and then to the most titillating preacher the next week, never anchoring to any local church. They whine of how the church fails to meet their needs—as if the church exists to cater to the entertainment whims and emotional cravings of narcissistic consumers. Heaven forbid!

We’re not called to be consumers in church but rather communers. We come to church to commune with God. He is the Bridegroom, and attending church is like keeping a marriage covenant.

Enough of the casual commitment when it comes to church!

It’s time to stop giving fusty turkeys to the church and start showing the same kind of commitment to it that Christ modeled. When cruel death gripped Christ on the cross, all creation froze. Would the Son of God make the ultimate commitment to redeem humankind? And from that crimson beam Jesus screamed in anguish His answer: “I do.”

That’s the commitment He made to His bride, the church. Will you make the same vow?

[1] Paul Harvey daily radio broadcast (11-22-95)