On being spectators
My church recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. There was a special guest speaker for the weekend who spoke from a couple of passages in Mark. On Sunday morning he spoke about the fig tree in Mark 11.
The speaker pointed out that our culture encourages a spectator mentality. So much in our society is designed for our entertainment and this attitude sometimes carries over into the church. We go to church expecting good music, good preaching, comfortable seating, and a warm or cool building (depending on the season). We expect the most talented musicians to play, the most talented people to speak and in doing so we encourage a spectator mentality where the majority in the congregation never use their gifts and abilities.
When Jesus went over to the fig tree he expected to find figs because, although it was not the time for fully grown figs, the leaves suggested there would be immature, yet edible fruit. However there was not. There were only leaves – a good performance but no fruit. Our churches can be the same, that is, a good performance but no fruit, not even young, immature fruit. For a church to produce fruit it requires everyone in the congregation to play their part and discover their gifting and unique contribution so that together we can be Jesus to the world.