Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 24, 2018

Do you know the difference?

By By Jeff McPheron, Trenton United Methodist Church | Jun 08, 2018

In an old observation about human behavior, the question is asked, “What is the difference between a tavern and a church?” In the tavern everyone talks about their problems and where to find solutions. In the church, nobody talks about their problems, even though the church’s existence is based on offering solutions to life’s problems.

Hmm. Both the tavern and the church are places where people choose to go to share a part of life. Maybe not the first time you walk in, but in both places, there are people who know your name and people who are willing to take an interest in you.

In the tavern, sometimes the bartender does a better job of listening, but that might be a sales strategy. The visit in the tavern can be a little pricey, both during the stay, and on the way home, with little offering of hope for improvement in life for the investment.

What the church does a little better is gather and share resources to improve things in as many neighborhoods as it can touch. It doesn’t always succeed, but it never stops trying. The church accepts offerings and commitments to make changes in things and in lives.

In both places, many of the complaints are that the world is not what it ought to be, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The powers that be do things for their benefit, and the rest of us must deal with what is left.

The church is always challenging people to look beyond themselves, and to take a long view of life—a very, very long view. They look beyond to offer themselves for others’ needs, and to a God who is beyond all things and above all time.

We do not accomplish anything worthwhile in this world to change the world while we are staring at our own belly buttons. We accomplish worthwhile things when we align with the one who is the giver of our abilities and the master designer of the universe.

The answers to life are not found in a bottle any more than they are found in a job, but with a job a person can use talents and skills to benefit others and generate prosperity that will serve.

Yet the power is not in me, but in the one who lives in and through me.

“Even the most ordinary of citizens who are offered and committed to the truth can reveal the all-surpassing power of God,” -2 Corinthians 4:7, adapted.

Can you tell the difference?

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