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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN


Are You a Pillar or a Caterpillar?

Somebody once observed: "Church members are either pillars or caterpillars. Pillars hold up the church, caterpillars just crawl in and out." Christians ought to be doing more than crawling in and out. Conversion to Christ should make a difference in our lives. Not only in our lives, but also in the lives of others as we lose ourselves in service to Christ and our fellow human beings. Jesus didn't die on a cross because I'm okay and you're okay. He died be-cause there were and are some things about us that need to change. As someone noted, "If your religion leaves you unchanged, you need to change your religion." Titus 3:8-9 describes two kinds of religion-one will lead you to change, the other will leave you unchanged. The verses say: "This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to aff irm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless." Note the two ways Paul rates religion: "good and profitable" or %unprofitable and useless." These are striking words. Paul is directing Titus to teach Christianson the first century island of Crete that they can be pillars or caterpillars in the church! They can help hold up the church as they stay busy doing and supporting good works, or they can get all bogged down and caught up in disputes and debates and foolish fusses and fights which are "unprofitable and useless." Thirty years in the church of our Lord has taught me that some church members help hold up the church, some are content to crawl in and out, and a few seem bent on tearing and slowing her down. It should sober us to realize our religion can be "good and prof itable" or "unprof itable and useless."

Are you a pillar or a caterpillar? Three times in Titus 2:14-3:14 the apostle Paul emphasizes that Christians should stay busy working for the Lord. They should be "zealous for good works" (2:14); "be careful to maintain good works" (3:8); "learn to maintain good works" (3:14). Colin Powell once observed, "Freedom to be your best means nothing unless you're willing to do your best." Jesus Christ has given us the freedom to be our best. At the cross He "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." He freed us to be our best-are you doing your best? Are you holding up the church-or just crawling in and out?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ