Are You a Yelping Christian?

 

When planning an activity, date night, or a visit to an unfamiliar place, I use a few online tools to aid my research. Yelp and Trip Advisor are two of my favorite places to get ratings and reviews on local activities, restaurants, and lodging for wherever it is that I may be going. The websites provide basic info and listings (much like an old school phone book) on businesses: addresses, phone numbers, menus, prices, etc. But the most helpful part about sites like these is the user reviews. A hotel may look like a great place to stay until a recent user review points out the large cockroach infestation. A restaurant looks like the perfect setting for a date night, until a user reports the recent drop to a 'B' rating. These user reviews provide firsthand information and insight so that other users (like me) can make good & knowledgeable decisions.

When I visit Yelp and Trip Advisor, I do so selfishly. I only read others' reviews; I don't leave any of my own. The thought recently occurred to me, "What if no one left reviews?!" If everyone acted like me & didn't leave reviews, sites like these would lose their value.

I figure that many of us church-goers today have the same relationship with church that I do with Yelp. We attend when it is convenient for us, or when we want or need something specific, yet we never offer our gifts, experiences, wisdom, and insight to help other members of the community. We are content to use the church, but we are often too selfish to be used in the church. Yet the church as described in God's Word clearly mandates that all Christians use their gifts to serve the community: "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 4:10-11).

If everyone treated Yelp selfishly & refused to leave reviews to benefit others, no one else would be served. Likewise, in the church, you & I are mandated to not merely show up, but to "Yelp" so that others in the community can glorify God. The church was not set up so that a few select people could carry the majority of the work of service. The church was meant so that "each one" who has "received a gift" could come not only to be served, but to serve. As Paul writes, "For the body does not consist of one member but of many...But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?" (1 Cor. 12:14-31).

And so I encourage us this morning- how are you "yelping" at your local church? What gifts, talents, experience, and wisdom has God given you so that you can bless others? If you aren't active in your church, what would happen to your church if everyone had the same inactivity?

Ryan Mann