I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers… - Romans 9:3
This past week I noticed a spot in our yard, not far from the barn, where some honey bees were establishing a colony in the ground. We have had a number of such bee colonies in the past (in a soffit, in a hay bale, within an old rail road tie) but we have never had one in the ground. But sure enough, there they were going in and out of a 3" hole in the ground. I apparently got a little too close in checking out their situation for suddenly three bees attacked me and stung me: two on a leg and one on my left elbow. This got me to thinking about that age-old suggestion that when a bee stings you it will die. So I checked it out and here is what I read…
When a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull the barbed stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger, but also part of its abdomen and digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture kills the honey bee. Honey bees are the only bees to die after stinging.
Wow! So those three bees that stung me gave up their lives to protect their hive! (Little good that did them as those stings prompted me to all the more quickly rid the yard of the bees.)
Now, to what degree would any of us protect the church…our brothers and sisters in Christ? The apostle Paul said he was willing to consider himself cursed (by God) if that meant the salvation of his fellow Jews. Do we have that kind of self-sacrificing attitude in watching out for one another?
The church, as you well know, has come upon hard times. Many former churchgoers and even church leaders simply don't go to church anymore. They have, as one put it to me one time, "quit doing that." If one's attitude is that church is about "doing" then I guess that makes sense. But if one's attitude is about "being"…about being the church…then there is no real explanation for this. For how can one quit BEING what one is? Can one deny one's life as a Christ-follower and still consider one's self a Christian? Apparently some do, but it doesn't make sense.
The church is my brothers and sisters in Jesus. As I once put on a church sign: "Blood is thicker than water, but the blood of Christ is the thickest blood of all." By that I meant that there is no deeper bond than what we have in Christ. Many of us with unsaved family members would readily attest to that truth. The body of Christ is made up of those who are our TRUE brothers and sisters and they are worth protecting even to the point of giving up our own lives for their sake.