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Nonconforming Parts and the Church

by Wayne Brooks  
11/15/2015 / Christian Living

When I got to work the other day, I found the QC guy and my trainer together talking over a tote of parts I had produced the day before. Then my eyes focused on a red tag that was attached to the tote. I thought, this is not good! The trainer approached me and informed me that they had found some nonconforming parts in my work. I would need to go through all the parts of this type that I had did the day before, more than a couple of hundred parts, which would be an all day job.
After finding out I had not held the test gauge correctly and misjudged the conformity to the specs of the drawings, I proceeded to check them all. To my joy there were a lot more good parts than bad, but the trainer and supervisor were not as joyed. One bad part found in a lot can cost labor and material if not found out quickly. I refrained from using the old adage, "there is never enough time to do things right but always enough time to do them over," because they were not in a good mood. The rework would take up valuable time. I completed the job with success and returned to my regular work with a greatly learned lesson.
Not only did I learn the proper way to judge conformity, but I saw a great lesson for the Church. It only takes one unfaithful church member to hurt the reputation of the church. How many times have I met someone and asked them where they attended church and judged the whole church by that person? And, how many times have I heard at the break table people say that they have seen church members at the bar they went to, so the Church must be full of hypocrites. This reminded me of a story that I try to tell people about this issue: There was a LA (Lower Alabama) pastor that was out visiting and came to a pig farm on the edge of town. Finding the farmer standing by a fence with a single pig enclosed, he struck up a conversation in which he asked the farmer why the pig was quarantined. The farmer explained that the pig was a runt, sickly, in bad shape and not worth much on the market. The pastor, getting reading to leave, asked the farmer if he would come and visit his church the next Sunday, in which the farmer replied that he would never visit his church because he had seen one of his members down at the local bar, getting drunk. The pastor said he understood and asked the farmer how much he wanted for the bad pig. In shock the farmer quoted him a price so low that the pastor had no problem coming up with the money from his billfold. After paying the farmer, he told him that he was going to take the pig into town and tell everyone what kind of pigs the farmer sells, in which the farmer exclaimed that it was unfair to judge all his pigs by that one, all the rest were healthy, fat and quite valuable. Then the farmer said that it would be unfair to judge his church by one member.
I love this story, but in truth, the farmer needed to take care of the pig and bring it up to the proper condition for market and the pastor needed to look after his drunken' sheep. Few church members really understand that how they act in public reflects on the church they attend, if not the Church in general. The teaching of living a holy life as a testimony to Christ has become badly down played. It is great to advertise a "come-as-you-are" attitude at church, but we need to add, "But leave different." And we need more lovingly presented messages on resisting the sin that so easily ensnares us, Hebrews 12:1.
Back in the early 1980s, we, as a church, were learning about what the Church was and how each of us affected the workings of the Church.
We were directed to a story in the Old Testament known as the "Sin of Achan", which is found in Joshua 6-8. Before the attack on Jericho, the people were told not to take the cursed things of Jericho but to destroy everything but the silver, gold, bronze and iron vessels that were set apart for use in the Lord's service and be placed in the "treasury of the Lord". But during the attack Achan stole items from the loot and hid them in his tent. So when the next battle came, God withheld His protection and a much smaller force at the town of Ai backed down the Hebrews and drove them back. Confused, Joshua asked the Lord why and the Lord revealed that there was Sin-in-the-Camp. On later investigation, by lot casting, Joshua found out it was Achan who had sinned and had to be dealt with. After this, the Lord's protection was restored and the Hebrews again attacked Ai and succeeded. This is an illustration from God's dealings with His people that one person's disobedience in the church can cause failure in that church's mission. A lot of churches start off with a trumpet blast and end with being ran off by a small group of enemies, because of sin.
The Apostle Paul likens the Church as being made up of many parts (or members, partakers), we the believers are those parts. When one or more of the parts are nonconforming to the benchmark part or drawings, the whole lot is affected. Romans 8:29 says, we are called to become conformed in the image of Christ and according to Romans 12:2, not to the world. We are to daily give up things in our lives to become more like Jesus who is Joshua's Captain, Commander, and Prince of the Host or Army of the Lord.

So I encourage us in the Church, let's not only live our lives as a testimony to Christ, but to set a godly example for the church we are members with. If you see someone not up to specs, don't verbally attack them, but keep them in constant prayer. If the Lord leads you to talk to them, do so, but be sure you do not make things worse. Maybe the Lord shows you someone's faults so that you may befriend them and be an example or that person may be able to help you with your nonconformity.

Wayne Brooks is a blue collar worker in the manufacturing field. He also writes a blog dealing with Christians in the workplace and Marketplace Ministry.

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