I was recently reading a book on church leadership that put forth a question to people:
“Are you better off five years after joining the church?”
It doesn’t have to be just about joining a church. I prefer to rephrase it a bit to ask, “Are you better off spiritually since…?” Then insert whatever you thought would have helped you grow spiritually. Perhaps it’s serving more, attending worship services more often, journalling or reading more, meeting with a mentor or mentoring someone else, asking more questions, building more relationships, and so on. Or are you continuing to go through the motions but you haven’t truly changed? Are you content to check a task off your to-do list or calendar app and pat yourself on the back?
Involvement requires investment, sacrifice, and change. It will challenge and grow you. Sometimes growth happens by leaps and bounds and other times it’s gradual. Sometimes you’ll take a huge leap forward then coast for so long that you end up losing more ground than you gained. That’s why it’s important to reflect on chunks of time instead of asking yourself if you changed since last week.
However, if we’re intent on changing through daily and weekly situations, we can be certain to change over longer periods of time. But are we changing well? All change and growth isn’t good. Are we content to define what “better off spiritually” means, or do we have a open mind and heart to considering what the truth of that phrase is? Do we let our assumptions and backgrounds define it, or do we ask questions? Do we look for affirmation or for challenging correction and conviction?
The quick answer to “Are you better off spiritually…?” is “Yes!” But is that the truth? Commit to soaking in the question and asking God for direction as you seek the answer. Growth always involves humility, patience, and purposeful pursuit.