The other day I pulled into a gas station and . . . well . . . my heart skipped a beat. Parked right next to my Jeep was an almost exact replica of the finest vehicle I’ve ever owned. The paint was the same, the rims were the same. I think even some of the rust spots were the same. No, this was no Cadillac or anything fancy. The finest vehicle I ever owned was a 2000 Dodge Durango.
Affectionately known as “Duke.”
Duke and I had a special kind of bond. I took good care of him and he took me places . . . usually. Oh, he had his problems. In the few years we were together I replaced his transmission twice, he dropped a drive shaft while we were on a lonely country road once and a short in a wire behind the dashboard ended up costing me $600. One time on a cold winter day many miles from home his transfer case literally flew apart. It was amazing. Trust me, the guy driving the tow truck was even amazed!
My friends never seemed to understand the bond Duke and I had. They told me he was more trouble than he was worth. I knew he wasn’t perfect but he was mine and I was willing overlook his problems and do my best to smooth out the rough spots. I wasn’t home the day they finally hauled him away. That’s probably best. I don’t think Duke would have wanted me to see him like that.
Duke wasn’t my favorite vehicle because he was problem free; he was my favorite vehicle because he fit me (I’ve noticed I’m not problem free either). Our personalities meshed and I built some wonderful memories with that old Durango.
I was thinking about Duke the other day as I considered the question, “are there any problem free churches?” I’m pretty sure there aren’t, and yet people seem intent on finding a church where everything runs perfectly. When they realize things aren’t perfect they’re off down the road to search again.
I look in the New Testament and I don’t even see any problem free churches there. Jerusalem had an issue with discrimination, Corinth struggled with sin, Colosse thought they were too small to make a difference and don’t get me started on those Galatians! It seems Jesus didn’t leave behind any perfect churches because there are no perfect Christians.
Maybe instead of searching for the perfect church we should find a church where we fit. A place where we can build up others (Ephesians 4:29), where we can comfort those in pain (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), where together we can “hold fast to the word of life” (Philippians 4:16).
I think I know a place like that.