Membership Caring Month
“Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him.
And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So, he told them this parable: Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?”
Perhaps this is your first time hearing about “membership caring month.” Every day must be a day of membership care. So, why should we have membership caring month? It is the same reason we have “stewardship month” or a “stewardship campaign.” Every day must be a say of stewardship, but we have a particular month for “stewardship” because we want to remind ourselves that “we are God’s stewards.”
Membership caring is similar to caring for your family. Family is one of the smallest communities in society and consists of those in the best intimate relationship. They eat at a table together, sleep at a place together, and share their joys and concerns. When they have joys, they celebrate them together; when they have concerns, they try to come to a solution together with prayer. Hearing this, what ideas come to your mind? Yes, a church family or faith community is similar to a family community. While a family community consists of the family blood relations, church family consists of the links through the blood of Christ. In other words, the church family consists of the love of Christ by the grace of God. We eat together at the Lord’s Table; we share our joys and concerns; when one has joy, we celebrate it; when one has concerns, we care for them and try to help them through prayer. If one among the family doesn’t join the table, we wonder if the one has something wrong, and we care for and encourage the one to join the table with us. That’s the family, and family care. However, if we don’t care whether all of our family members join the table, it is not a family any longer.
Jesus showed us what a family looked like in the Gospel. One of them is the story of the lost sheep. Before he tells the story, he eats with all the tax collectors and sinners, sharing God’s story. The Pharisees and scribes were grumbling, saying, “The fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Imagine the scene in your mind and what it looks like! In the scene, who would be the family of Jesus? Those who eat at his table or look at them grumbling without joining his table?
Jesus has given us the definition of family in Mark 4:31-35. When Jesus taught the people, someone said, “Your mother and siblings came and asked you to come out.” And Jesus said, “Who is my family?” Looking at the people with him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does God’s will are my brothers and sisters and mother!” In other words, the church family are those who eat together at a table and those who follow God’s will. Who are the lost sheep? Who would remain in the wilderness? For Jesus, the lost sheep might be the Pharisees and scribes who didn’t join with him. In other words, in the parable story, Jesus regards the Pharisees and scribes as the lost sheep, and he would leave the tax collector and sinners in the wilderness to find the Pharisees and scribes. As you may know, the Pharisees and scribes were religious leaders. In other words, they knew the law of God but didn’t follow the rules. Instead, they used the law of God to judge the people. They were those who couldn’t see their fault (Luke 6:42).
Have you ever thought about who you belong to? Are you with Jesus at his table, or are you outside of his table, even though you know the words of God? The lost sheep might be those who know God, but don’t follow God’s will. It may be you, one of your family members, or one of your loved ones. The lost sheep is not far, but still there next to you. Let us try to find the lost sheep in March and fill God’s house with them! It is time to come back to God! Let’s come back to God with our loved ones!