One Church Isn’t Good Enough

The following is a guest post written by Joel Arnold, missionary to the Philippines.

My wife and I are professional church hoppers. You know, the kind of people that can never stay at one church long enough to build meaningful relationships and get involved before they go somewhere else? That’s us. And we do it in a big way. Last year—49 churches. The last 2 1/2 years—I actually lost count but I’m pretty sure it was somewhere between 250 and 300.

If you want to use me as an example in your upcoming anti-church-hopper polemical blog post, that’s fine, but I do have a pretty good reason. We’re missionaries—raising financial support to go to the Philippines. Every week we’re traveling to a different place, telling churches about what we’re doing, usually staying in other people’s houses during the week. It’s an interesting life. We do “church hop,” but not by choice. And no, it’s not like one long vacation. Getting away is nice if you’re always at home. If you’re never at home, vacation happens when you can actually live in one place for awhile.

So there was this one time when I found myself lying in bed at night discouraging myself. This was several years ago before I became spiritually mature. Or maybe it was last week. Doesn’t matter. Anyway, the thoughts went, “we’re working as hard as we can; my family is giving up all forms of privacy; we’ve been living on the road for 16 months now; why aren’t we seeing more progress; how long will this last,” etc. Good, godly thoughts like that.

And then I ran out of discouragements. Or the Lord convicted me. Or it became obvious how shallow my complaints were. All at the same time. It was like the painting inside my head suddenly went from black and grey to spectacular color washed with sunlight. And my thoughts instead became “I have a beautiful wife and a healthy son; we can afford to eat good meals every day; I’m saved and on my way to heaven; I even get to preach every week…”

“What are my problems really?”

I understand that challenges aren’t solved by the Pollyanna philosophy—”just think happy thoughts and all your troubles will go away.” But I was still reminded that what I’m fixated on has everything to do with my outlook. In particular, my focus should be on things I know are true because God told me so. “Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day… While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:16,18)

If a few nuisances in a day can get me down, I have some issues. But where my gaze is set on things that never change, I can relish all the blessings of life—both disguised and undisguised—resting in the perfect care of my Savior.

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Joel Arnold and his wife, Sarah, are on deputation to go to the Philippines. They’re a pretty awesome couple and have an incredibly cute little boy named Jeremy. If you were blessed by this post and would like to learn more about their ministry check out their video presentation and sign up for e-mail updates!

If you would like to consider financially supporting the Arnolds in their mission work {either individually or collectively with your church}, you can contact them at joelandsaraharnold {at} gmail {dot} com.

 

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One comment

  1. Christina says:

    “But where my gaze is set on things that never change, I can relish all the blessings of life—both disguised and undisguised—resting in the perfect care of my Savior.”

    Yes, needed this today. It may need to be written on my kitchen chalkboard.

    Thanks, Christa and Joel!

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