One day in the 1890’s in Mayfield, Kentucky, a deacon pounded a wooden peg into the back wall of a small Baptist church. When another deacon discovered the peg, he became so angry that he created dissension in the church – between the pro-peggers and the anti-peggers. The congregation eventually split apart, and the Anti-Peg Baptists started their own church.
This sounds so silly, doesn’t it? Yet, this still happens every Sunday at churches all over the world. It may not be a wooden peg that causes dissension, but it’s probably something just as trivial. Maybe the lights aren’t bright enough or the chairs aren’t set up the right way or there’s not enough good parking spaces close by. Maybe the music is too loud (or too soft) or maybe the songs are too old (or too new). The list goes on and on.
Why do people care about the lights, parking, music, carpet, chairs, or someone in church who didn’t speak to them on Sunday? Because Satan can trick anyone into thinking that a small wooden peg is actually a massive oak tree! When we focus on insignificant things that don’t count for eternity, we can’t focus on important things. God expects us to focus on serving Him, helping the poor and hurting, and reaching people for the Kingdom.
Something may not be exactly what you want or like in church, but if people are being saved, getting baptized, and growing in Christ, then maybe you need to take a step back from your trivial issues and not threaten to “take your toys and go to another church.” Because I have news for you! That other church will have issues too. You can’t leave a church because of a wooden peg and expect God to bless you. His Word says in John 12:26, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”
If you find yourself causing dissension at church, try to remember what Jesus did on the cross for you (and for me). Do you think He wanted to do that? Actually, the answer to that question is ‘yes’. To be beaten and called names and then to be nailed and hung naked on the cross so we could be forgiven and go to Heaven was the ultimate fulfillment of His mission on earth. Therefore, as Hebrews 12:2 says, we should “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When we complain about what makes us unhappy with the church, we miss the opportunity to reach out to those lost souls who walk through the doors on Sunday morning, just wanting someone to smile and say hello to them. If we’re too busy being upset about a petty problem with no eternal value, we need to grow up and put on our spiritual big boy shorts and big girl panties and stop acting like babies. Or as the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:27, “Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ . . . so that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
Every day people are dying and going to hell without hearing about and knowing about the love of Christ. It’s time for all of us to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. In the end, the only thing that matters is what we did for Christ and how we served Him and others. I doubt that God is happy when He looks down and sees us, His “Christian” children, causing dissension in the church over a wooden peg, no matter what that wooden peg may or may not be.
“Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15