The Maintainer

In the last post we discussed that there are three distinct groups in every society.  The first would be, “Those in Need / The Takers”, the second, “The Maintainers” and third, “The Builders”. We took an in-depth look at what it meant to be “Those in Need” and how to avoid being found among “The Takers”.

No matter what challenges and obstacles we face, we all should be striving to be a builder in the kingdom of God, but sometimes we get off track.  It’s good to be reminded that there is a very real and loving God who has a genuinely unique plan for each and every one of our lives.  It is up to us to develop the proper habits that will help us to continue to pursue, discover, and apply that plan to our lives on a regular bases.

In this post we will look at a group that makes up the largest percentage of our churches today: “The Maintainers”.

The Maintainers vs. Maintenance People

     One thought that can come to mind when thinking of a maintainer could be this, “maintainers are a vital part of every society and church body because they keep up with the maintenance of situations and problems as they arise. We need maintainers!” This is not the type of maintainer we are describing here.  These type of people are known as “maintenance people” and are very much a necessary part of every society and church body.  No, we are talking about a very different type of maintainer.  Maintainers  typically look the other way when they see needs because they question every cost that will come to them if they decide to actually get involved.  While maintenance people love those in need and think very little of what the cost will be to lend a hand.  Thereby, they are actively involved with the needs all round them.  We will discuss that group in the next post.  For now, lets take a look at “The Maintainers” and some of the characteristic traits that makes this group the way they are.

Unwilling

     The number one characteristic of a maintainer is someone who is unwilling.  Like all of us, the relationship began with the desire to be more than what they were,  but after time, they begin to realize that if the relationship was going to be successful, it would require moving out of their current level of comfort in giving.  In the beginning the price is small because we are the ones who have the most to gain.  The very reason we came to Christ was born out of a desire to have more than what life and our poor decisions were giving us. Remember, the first step in coming to God is faith, and the way that faith fist gets exercised is believing that God is real, and that he rewards you if you search for him; see Hebrews 11:6.  Of course it’s simple to grow at first, we just realized that there is a very real God who wants to bless us!  And all we need is a willingness to give him our lives with all its hurts and frustrations, and in return, he gives us forgiveness and freedom.  Not a bad trade!  At some point though many of us stop giving, and as a result, we become cold, apathetic, and worst of all, without hope.

Stunted Growth

     Many of you, while reading this post, are already doing some self examination and asking yourselves some very important questions;  “Am I guilty of having an unwillingness to give with my life?  I wonder if God is mad at me for not giving enough and that’s why I’m not really where I want to be by now.  How much am I really expected to give when I only have so much time in the day and the demands for my time are already so high?  God couldn’t be that unreasonable!…could He?”  The answer to all these questions can be summed up in Matthew 28:19 and 20, “GO (big emphasis on go!) and make disciples of all nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded YOU (big emphasis on you!). And behold, I am with you always, to the end of age.”  We stopped growing when we stopped giving, and when we stopped giving the purpose for our lives in Christ began to fade away.  This fading has made it impossible for us to have a clear vision of both who God is, and what his intentions are toward mankind. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11  To stay in a constant state of growth means that we remember the two main vitals for life.  #1. God is real and he will reward / forgive you if you’ll seek him.  #2. God has a plan for your life no matter where you’ve come from, or where you find yourself currently.  Never forget these two Vitals for Life!  Place them deep into your heart and let them serve as a reminder when you begin to doubt God or the ability God gave you to do his will.

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The Taker

Three Groups

     In any society you have three very distinct groups.  The first is, “Those in Need”, or in some cases they are known as, “The Takers”. The second group would be, “The Maintainers”, and the third, “The Builders”.  The fist thing you need to consider is that there are many different types of people living in these three groups at any given time.  You don’t necessarily have to be an intelligent enrapture to be a builder.  All types of people, smart, special needs, rich, poor, women, men, white, black, the abused and the loved, exist in all three of these groups.  What you as the reader must consider is this:  What group best describes me currently, and how am I going to become, or maintain, the status of “The Builder”?

     This is going to be a three part series where we dive in and take an in-depth look at all three types of groups, and how they make our churches what they are today.

Those in Need / The Takers

     The problem with this group is that it’s very tricky to describe because our first reaction is to think negatively about them.  We tend to use the same mental pictures as that of an able-bodied man sitting at home collecting a check from the government when he could be at work making his own money like the rest of us.  But we know this isn’t always the case with those in need of assistants.  Think of the young new couple who are struggling to make it and they just found out that there’s a baby is on the way. He’s fresh out of college with only 6 weeks into his new job, and their not offering him insurance until 3 months on the job.  His only course of action is to seek help from the government until his new insurance kicks in.  Certainly you wouldn’t think poorly of them for their need of assistance.  You see them for what they are, a fresh young couple just trying to get their feet on the ground while in the beginning stages of their lives.

The New Christian

     Like this young couple we have new people in our churches.  Someone invited them to a special function and now this couple has started coming regularly.  After a few services, and hearing the preacher several times, they now have some questions about God, church, and religion.  We expect this from new people!   In fact, if they are not asking questions we realize there maybe a problem with lack of interest.  So when these questions begin to arise we are ready for them.  We offer this fresh new couple a Bible Study to help them prepare for their future.  This is the type of “Those in Need” people we hope to have in our churches at all times.

The Hurting

      We also have another set of people who fall into the category of “those in need”.  I would call them, the weary.  Sometimes we suffer loss, it’s inevitable.  And when we suffer loss, we most often move into the same group as “those in need”, and that’s okay, it’s part of the process of healing.  The Bible tells us in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”  Jesus also said in Matthew 11:28 and 29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

The Abused

     One last type of person that would fall into this category would be a long time Christian who has felt abused by leadership and needs time to heal.  But keep this in mind, God is a healer! and while the process of healing may take some time, you still have the same gifts and callings within you, waiting, needing, and wanting to be used!  Don’t allow this time of healing to turn into bitterness, thereby becoming the WORST of all people who dwell in “The Takers”.

The Takers

     The negative issues surrounding this group isn’t with these three types of people in it, it’s with the ones who stay in this group and never leave.  It’s easy to fall into the pattern of being a taker because we are always being catered to and constantly getting attention.  Once the healing process is over, or the big questions of who God is, how he deals with humanity, and how we fit into our church family are answered, it’s time to move on.  Most of a pastors time is given to this group, with both those in need and with the takers.  And unfortunately, a lot of pastors become burnt out due to the people who refuse to ever leave the group of those in need.

Tails To Look For

     Some tails to take notice of in discovering if you are stuck in the group of takers would be, do you come to every service thinking, “what am I going to receive today?”  When you go to the alter are you always looking for someone to come pray with you rather than you sometimes noticing those around you who may need prayer?  When you think of the pastor, do you consider his time to be made for you only to vent your problems and frustrations?  And the last and greatest is this, do you feel justified for feeling these ways because you feel worthless, angry, or hurt?

     The important thing to remember is that there is very little room for growth in this group, because God never intended for you to stay here for very long.  God made you to be a high functioning part of His body, one that contributes to its growth.  There is only one prayer request Jesus ever laid at the feet of mankind: “Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into his harvest” Matthew 9:38.  Notice how he called himself “The Lord of the Harvest”?  He is the Lord of “Those in Need”.  He said about himself in Matthew 18:12 that he “would leave the 90 and 9 and go after the one lost sheep”.  He also said in Matthew 9:37 that “The harvest field is plenteous but the labors are few.”  It is impossible to be a laborer when you refuse to leave the safety of “Those in Need”.  So it’s at this point of reusing to grow that you move from one who is in need to one who has become, The Taker.  IMG_3173