So, a while back, there was this group of really wonderful people who absolutely LOVED hamburgers. They would get together and share recipes and talk hamburgers for hours and hours. They quickly became a beautiful hamburger family. They were bound together by their LOVE of hamburgers!
One day, the group came upon this, absolutely, fantastic idea; We are going to open a hamburger place! And they did!
They pooled their resources, built a building and filled it with tables and chairs and all things "hamburger." They advertised and told everyone one they knew about their new hamburger place. It was a beautiful place! It was a warm and friendly place. A place right on a highly trafficked location. It was a great, fun place to come to!
People of all shapes and sizes came to visit their new place! People who new alllll about hamburgers came! People who had never had a hamburger and knew absolutely nothing about hamburgers came! The people flowed in greatly! It was Wonderful!
However...when these wonderful guests would come into this wonderful place the conversation would go something like this:
Hamburger Groupie (HG): Welcome to our hamburger place! Guest: Thank you! I've heard about hamburgers. I know something about them & I would like to try one. HG: Oh, and you should! They are Wonderful! My life was changed when I found hamburgers! Guest: OK. So, what do you have? HG: Oh, hamburgers come just for you. What ever your needs may be... Guest: OK. So, I see pictures here. Do they come with all the stuff on them? How do you eat them? HG: I like them with EVERYTHING on them! They come on a plate, in a box, in a wrapper, in a bag. You can eat them with your fingers or with a fork; however it works for you! Guest: Great! I'll try one just the way YOU like them and see what happens! HG: Great! You should! Guest: Great! That's what I'll have then. HG: Great! I can guarantee you'll LOVE it! Guest: So, do I tell you what I want or someone else? HG: Oh, you can share that with any one of us here! We would LOVE to hear what you want! Guest: OK. Then that's what I'll have. HG: Great! Thanks for sharing! We're glad you're here! Guest: So...When will I get the hamburger? HG: Whenever you're ready to receive it! Guest: OK! I'm ready! HG: Great! OK, so I'm going to go talk to some of our other guests. Stay as long as you'd like! We're glad you're here! Guest: OK. So...do you bring it out to me or...? HG: Bring what to you? Guest: The hamburger. HG: Bring you a hamburger? Ooooh no. We don't actually have them here! Someday we will! Soon, I'm sure! Guest: So this is a hamburger place but I can't, actually, get hamburgers here? HG: Nooooo! We love hamburgers here! We love to talk about hamburgers! If you would like to actually have a hamburger, that's up to you to figure out how to get one!
And so, none of the guests that came to visit their beautiful establishment ever came back...But, the group continued for years and years because of their love for each other, and their love of hamburgers. They would use their own funds to provide for the upkeep of their building and activities. But their numbers slowly dwindled as they died off, one by one. And they would say to each other, as the years past, "No one loves hamburgers like they used to..."
Matthew 21:17-19 Good News Translation (GNT)
17 Jesus left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
18 On his way back to the city early next morning, Jesus was hungry. 19 He saw a fig tree by the side of the road and went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. So he said to the tree, “You will never again bear fruit!” At once the fig tree dried up.
The Church has a job to do.
It's never to be a fruitless warehouse for believers.
People come to church because they are looking, searching for Christ.