Okay, the headline is meant more to get your attention than it is a command. I have personally never used Uber, and have no qualms against them. I am sure there are lovely people who drive for Uber or Lyft, or any other rideshare program for that matter. I am also certain there are wonderful opportunities for evangelism when you sign up to drive for such a company. Really this post has nothing to do with Uber. Honestly, I created a decoy to tell you why over the last few months, I have a new love for the church, both local and universal… and yes, Uber plays a small part.
Let me give you some history (do not worry, it’s not long). I started 2016 with a bang. Really more of a snap, crackle, and pop, when I fractured my leg four times on a trampoline. The doctors call it a routine “Tib/Fib” break, but while it may be routine in his book, it turned my routine upside down. For nearly 3 months I have been unable to do much on my own, depending heavily on the graces of others. From the moment my leg snapped, Christ’s Church leapt into action, and I have been the recipient of a whole new lesson on what a blessing it is to be a member of the body of Christ.
Five things I have learned through my injury and recovery:
1. There is no hospitality, like hospitality in the body of Christ.
When I came out of surgery, I was welcomed into the home of one of our church families for 2 1/2 weeks. While I recovered, they took care of all my needs above and beyond anything I could have anticipated. Their kids kept me entertained, encouraged, and I never had to lift a finger (which was good, because basically I was stuck in a chair or bed). I became a welcomed part of their family.
However, their family was not the only ones to extend gracious hospitality. For several weeks, we were delivered meals almost nightly, as church members saw the need to help them serve me. Once I returned home, the meals did not cease for several weeks. I have never eaten so well in my life. I used to think that church meal programs were for pregnant women on bed rest and senior citizens, but here I now stand (sort of), counted among the blessed recipients.
One gentleman even picked me up for lunch, just to get me out of the house so I could see daylight. The thoughtfulness of that was astounding to me, and the fellowship we had was sweet.
2. Christ and The Church do not need me
I broke my leg on a Friday night. As an Associate Pastor of Worship, Sunday was not far away and there was no way I could physically lead the music. Before I left the ER that evening, I was informed that Sunday and the next number of weeks were taken care of, and I need not worry. The army of people that stepped up to lead rehearsals, plan music, conduct the choir, lead Sunday morning and evening services was staggering. Good Friday and Resurrection Morning loomed, but I knew it was being looked after. As a Pastor, you have a very important job, but it’s always good to remember: it is Christ’s Church. He does not need you. For centuries and millennia the Church has survived without me, and when I die, it will continue on as well. I get to be a part of what God is doing in the Church, the church is not built around me. It is a privilege to serve, and I am even more thankful today for the opportunity.
3. Social Media is a strange place, but also a great place.
Brother’s and sister’s in Christ, many whom I have never met face to face have given me such encouragement. Friends on social media sent me messages to keep me laughing, challenging me spiritually and even helping in my recovery. I must give a shout out to my new Twitter friend @Puritan2000, who immediately reached out and offered his medical wisdom and spiritual encouragement. Honestly, my recovery is progressing quickly because of his help.
For the first 10 weeks, I could not read much more than a page or two at a time. My reading comprehension was severely affected by the medication I was on, and I could only watch so much NetFlix. But listening to good Podcasts was something that really helped. Even now, I still gain daily encouragement through these ministries as I work. Check them out. Fire Away! by Entreating Favor, WWUTT, Grace To You, Inner Revolution, 5 Minutes in Church History, The Briefing, Unshackled.
Perhaps the most amazing thing I was reminded of was how awesome prayer works. For a series of a few nights, I struggled to fall sleep. I was coming off my pain medication and one night I was having a particularly hard time so I haphazardly tweeted at 3:35am:
Another sleepless night. Trying to ween oneself off pain meds is no fun.
— Darren Wiebe ن (@DSWiebe) March 18, 2016
Almost instantly I think I fell asleep and awoke 8 hours later to find tweets and emails from people who told me they were praying. Little did I know that a simple tweet launched an army of prayer warriors, and while I now slept, they were going up on my behalf before the throne of grace.
4. Tremendous Blessing through Prayer
I am so grateful for the many prayers that have been made on my behalf. I am truly humbled when parents tell me how their children pray for me before going to bed. I’m incredibly grateful for those precious prayers, and it has become an even greater privilege for me to pray for them. It serves as a great reminder that I need to be on my knees regularly for others. Where else, but in the body of Christ, does one find such grace, strength, and support.
5. A good church has its own Uber network
I said Uber had a small part in this blog post. Who needs Uber when you have a church family willing to coordinate their schedules to take another to appointments, grocery shopping, and church without ever complaining or demanding anything in return? For nearly three months I was unable to drive, and never once did I miss anything. I am incredibly thankful for my church family, as they were/are the hands and feet of Jesus to me.
The Lord had to physically break me to realize what a treasure I truly possess, and just how much I love the local church and the universal Church. And please do not misunderstand me. I do not love the Church for what it does for me and the benefit I received. I love it because it shows me Christ everyday. It demonstrates to me sacrificial love and care. The Church shows me my own selfishness and pride. It reminded me that my time on earth is but a vapor, and Christ’s Kingdom is eternal. I have meditated countless times on Paul’s words to the Corinthian church, “Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor 4:16). He continues by saying, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” To be a part of the body of Christ is a wonderful privilege today, I can not even begin to comprehend how even more so it will be when we all see Him face to face.