By Denise Watson-Smith
A few weeks ago, I was driving on Route 122, taking my niece back home to Bed ford County. I passed this church, and the sign read, “If the grass looks greener on the other side, fertilize yours.” As I read that sign, it was as if God gave me an answer to a question. It made me think on the rationale behind churches splitting, congregations divided and so forth. Why do churches divide? Why do people walk away from one church and go to another? So many questions, but does anyone have the answer? When I passed that sign at the church, I realized, so many people talk down about their churches and their leaders of the church, as opposed to continuously lifting them up in prayer. We fail to realize that those negative connotations that we speak about our churches and leaders are not only hurtful, but self fulfilling. If we perceive this person as being worthless enough or that church as being no good, then those words that we speak, we begin to live them. People leave the church because they don’t like the Pastor, or because someone has mistreated them along the way or because they meet one or two bad people within the church. They accuse the whole church of being that way; but as I grow in God, the one thing that He has shown me is one bad apple DOES NOT spoil the whole bunch.
When you up and leave your church in the midst of confusion, you know God was not in it. When you start comparing ministries to each other, seeing what one does differently and saying whose is better, your “vision” can become tainted. You see this being done this particular way, and your church does not do it that way, then you perceive your church as being wrong, because the grass looks greener, but sometimes, more often than none, when you crossover to that other side, and you look back at where you came from, you see that the grass is NOT greener – you just were looking at it from a different angle. Faulty vision can have us do crazy things, because we are looking through someone else’s eyes, and not trusting what God has spoken to us.
What is God saying to you? Are you listening? Did God say pack up and go in the midst of confusion, or did He say, what are you doing to HELP your church? How can you say the grass is greener somewhere else, when you are not trying to fertilize yours? How do you know that God is not pruning and plucking and pulling the weeds? What do you have to offer to your church, to help the fertilization process? What areas do you see lacking in which you can be of assistance? Prayer, love, humility, leading by example? Have you given God free reign over your church? It is not about what this one does or what that one does, and trust me, I have been so guilty of that. It is about serving God and doing the will of God, and allowing God to be the Head of your church. Going somewhere else does not necessarily mean the grass is greener, sometimes is means you are looking through the wrong person’s eyes.
I have seen churches split over this and that, but I have never seen them split over prayer. If you want change, you have to pray for change, but you also have to realize that change comes from within and that change starts with you. We get so busy criticizing what is wrong, that we don’t see what is good or what is right. We put on our rose colored glasses and start to look elsewhere, but what happens when you take those glasses off? You find out that people have the same problems and the same issues as you, always seeking for someplace better to go, when sometimes, more often than you know, the better you have been seeking is right where you are. It is just allowing God to operate within you so that you can see that YOU can make a difference. If everybody wanted to leave their church because of this that or the other, people would be changing churches like they change their clothing. There is no perfect church, but there are churches who are striving to be everything that God wants them to be. If you know something is wrong in your church, are you going to be part of the problem, by not praying, fasting, loving, or being part of the solution?
Sometimes you can be in a place that you don’t call home, because you have NEVER ALLOWED it to be home, and when you don’t allow it to be home, you are always going to try and find something better, something different. A house is just a place, but home is where the heart is. You can’t go to someone else’s house and make their house your home, if at first you don’t try to make your house a home. Before you start looking for another place to call home, try and fix up the home you already have. Remember, if the grass looks greener on the other side, then you need to fertilize yours.
Rev. Denise Watson-Smith is the visionary of Weapons of Praise. She has been happily married to SFC Victor A. Smith; they have 4 children, a beautiful daughter and son in law and 2 precious granddaughters. Rev. Dee accepted her calling to the Gospel ministry and was licensed in 07′ and ordained 11′. A graduate of Liberty University with a B.S degree in religion and an M. Div in Pastoral Studies.