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


What Good Does It Do?

A woman was overheard asking her husband shortly after morning church services one Sunday: "Did you see that huge hat Ms. Smith wore to church this morning?" The husband said no. Again the wife asked, "Did you see the red dress Sister Vincent was wearing?" And again the answer was no. She pressed on "Did you notice Brother Beauregard asleep during the sermon?" And again the unobservant husband's answer was, "No." So the wife exclaimed, "I'll declare! A fat lot of good it does you to go to church!" What good it does each of us to go to church is largely up to us. The question I want to get at in this article is, "What good does the church do?" If you listen to popular opinion, you might think not much at all. The church is often analyzed, scrutinized, criticized, even pulverized. Her successes are minimized while her failings are maximized, magnified and publicized. Inside and out, self-proclaimed experts and self-appointed critics constantly shoot at the church. Listen and you will hear bang after bang as one critic after another points out her failures and seeks to bring her down. Some say the church is full of imperfections and hypocrites and is obsolete, irrelevant, and out of touch with modem society. To hear it from some, the church does little if any good at all.

But wait! There is another side to this story! Lionel B. Fletcher said, "It is easy to shoot a skylark, but not so easy to reproduce her song." Mr. Fletcher's comment is especially on target as regards Christ's church. While the human element in the church insures that the church is less than perfect, there are glorious truths about her no critic can ignore. Like her Lord, the church of Christ has many critics but no rivals! No person or group of persons on earth can sing the song she sings — the song of the redeemed! She is the body of Christ on earth. She sings a unique song as she preaches the Gospel of peace in a war torn world. She follows in the footsteps of Jesus, however imperfectly, as she ministers to those sick and in need, whether in body or mind or soul! She is sustained, not by human might alone, but by the living word of a living Christ who said, "I will build by church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against her" (Matthew 16:18). The church is still open for the Lord's business in the 21' century! Through members of His body, Jesus Christ still works on this earth. She is still the means He uses to go about doing good (Acts 10:38)! What good does the church do? She does God good, and she does us good, too!

For His Cause,
Tim Woodward