Walk together, children
I recently returned from participating in the 2018 annual meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia. It was an amazing time, as we heard how God is working in so many different churches and in the lives of different people. While there, I saw different people from different ethnic groups serving the Lord together and heard reports from churches of varying sizes across Virginia — and some from other states — about how God is at work through them, reconciling the world to Christ.
The president from the Baptist World Alliance shared stories of God working through Baptists across the world and testimonies from those who had been persecuted for their faith in Jesus. There was a fresh breath of the spirit of God moving through those attending. It was inspiring to hear how God is working through everyday people like you and me. The music was modern and led by various musicians from multiple churches on various instruments, worshipping the Lord together. It was inspiring to see what many people, and many churches, can accomplish by walking together.
A theme that God kept speaking to me was: Walk together, children! I have that old song running over and over through my mind today as I write. I believe the song was a spiritual, a song of the soul. Although from another time, the message is still alive this morning. The only words I remember are from the chorus: “Walk, Walk, Walk together, children! Walk, Walk, Walk together, children! Walk, Walk, walk together, children, there’s a great camp meeting in the Promised Land.”
The Apostle Paul instructs us in Colossians 2:6 (ESV), “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” We receive Christ by faith, hearing the message that God has spoken to us through the Bible. By faith, we believe that whoever shall ask Jesus to come into them to change their life, will experience Jesus coming to live within them (cf. Romans 10:12-13). We take God at His word to do what He promised to do, and God is faithful to do just that.
But God did not save us merely so we would have a reservation in Heaven rather than a ticket to Hell. When Jesus comes to live within a person, they enter into a shared life. God comes to live within them and to work through them. It becomes a “walk together” life. Many people want to go to heaven, but don’t want to be connected to a church. It is an interesting concept, this “Me faith.” But in reality, God saves us to live within us and connect us to his body, which is the church. We humans were created to be relational people. The one thing God said in Genesis that was not good, was what? He said, “It is not good for man to be alone; I will make a helper so the two can share life together.” The church is God’s idea, even though it is less than perfect — because of our human involvement.
People everywhere are longing for relationships. Marriage is one form of this, but not the only form. Families provide a place for people to work together and share life (both the good and the bad) together. Workplace teams provide shared responsibilities and the need to work together. School classes and classmates provide camaraderie and the possibility of functioning together. Community clubs, as well as churches, provide structure, relationships and opportunities to walk together and do things together.
The difference that the church offers is that Christ is alive in each believer in the church and has gifted each member to function as part of God’s team, and thus the bond is often stronger in a church, as he knits us together to serve him while we walk together to serve others. He wants the members of the church to be overflowing with thanksgiving to God, so that wherever they walk, others can be stirred to be thankful to God, too.
Walking involves movement from one place to another. While it’s true that treadmills provide faux-movement for the user, in reality, such walking takes you nowhere. On a treadmill you generally expend more energy trying to stay in one place, than you would if actually walking to somewhere to accomplish something.
God is moving in our world, and he invites you — and me — to walk with him, to serve with him and to impact others for him. Are you spending your days walking alone on a treadmill? Or are you walking with God, joining together with others in the church to walk, walk, walk together children?
Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church in Gwynn, Virginia. He can be reached at email@example.com.