Bill Button, father of six and grandfather of more than twenty, is currently 83 years young. He's been a school teacher, product designer and lifelong thinker and philosopher. Now Bill enjoys writing down his thoughts and advice for younger folk.
When I was a child my parents sent me to Sunday school even though they did not attend any church. They wanted me to know about Jesus, although outside of bedtime prayers there was no religious talk in our house. When I became 14 years old I finished Sunday school and was asked if I wanted to join the church. I decided against it. I did not associate with any church until after I married at age 23.
In the late 1930's my father became a small businessman and contractor in our town. His business acquaintances asked him what church he belonged to. He answered, "The church that meets seven days a week." I also now belong to that church, but it took me years to find it.
The church that meets seven days a week is founded on the spirit of God's suffering love for mankind as revealed in the life and passion of Jesus Christ. The New Testament tells us about this. Unfortunately, many people want to live by the Letter of the Word instead of by the Spirit of the Word. This good spirit tells me that I am a sinner by nature, but God's love, revealed to us through Christ, can redeem me from that sinful nature.
This redemption is not a single event of "being saved." It is a daily struggle, making daily decisions, thinking and acting in the spirit of God's love for all men. I must serve and love my fellow human beings. I must also love God's gift of the natural Creation, and share it unselfishly with others. To be "saved" or "not saved" is shown only by my daily attitude and actions. As it is said, "A good example is worth a thousand words."
Who is the "neighbor" that Jesus commands me to love as I love myself? In this modern world of instant global communication and high speed transportation we are all neighbors on this earth. For a Christian this requires an end to all tribalism, nationalism, racism, and economic exploitation of all other people. The opportunities in life that I want for myself I must also work to provide for others. These opportunities are the basics of life, not the luxuries.
When Jesus tells us to "love your enemy, do good to those who persecute you," that is His most difficult command for me. It really goes against my human nature. It can only be done with God's help. I find that help through prayer to God, and through Christ's body, the church, my brothers and sisters who know me and support me in what is godly. They also warn me against my selfish opinions and actions.
Jesus' church is not a building. His church is a gathering of people who are believers and "doers" in the spirit of God's love. That is and has always been the "body" of Christ.
Some Christians tithe to support their church. They give 10% of their income. Some give more. But, Jesus asks for 100% from his disciples. Consider the parable of "the widow's mite" as compared to the rich man's large offering (Mark 12:42-44). But Jesus wants his followers to commit much more than money to support His body, the church. He wants our will, our attitudes and actions in obedience to His commands. He wants us to carry each other's burdens, and to share each other's joys.
What does Jesus tell us we must do? "Take up your cross and follow me." (Luke 9:23) "If you try to save your life, you will lose it." (Luke 17:33) "If you give your life away, you will save it." (Matt. 10:39) "Sell all your possessions, and give the money to the poor. Then follow me." (Matt. 19:21) To follow Jesus you must be willing to give up all you have, and all you are.
If you commit yourself to join with others in the effort to follow Jesus' commands, you will find yourself in "the church that meets seven days a week." There you will always receive much more than you give. God will give you many brothers and sisters in His family. God is a generous giver. You will receive meaning, purpose, and a peace of heart that "surpasses all understanding."