So Close, but So Far …

I recently had the occasion to go to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore to visit someone from my church. I parked in a nearby deck and walked a couple of blocks to enter the front door of the facility. As I crossed the street to approach the entrance, lying there on the sidewalk was a man who had been rather obviously stricken with some critical medical emergency – so close to the door of the hospital that he was literally in the flower bed about 25 feet from the entrance.

At about the same time as I was walking up to this scene, from blocks away one could hear an emergency vehicle en route for the purpose of assisting this individual. By the time that the medical care arrived, he had been in that position for quite a while; and even then, he was going to be loaded into the vehicle and driven around to another side of the facility.

And so I thought – what an irony … that this man was so close to the care that he needed that he could have almost rolled over through the front door, and yet he was very, very far away from getting the assistance he so desperately required.

And I thought also – that is the spiritual condition of so many people whom I know and love. They are so close, but yet so far. They have some interests in things related to knowing God, but they really do not have a relationship with Him that is evidenced in any way by the patterns of their lives. They always intend to make this issue a matter of priority, but they never seem to bring it front and center and act upon it.

But here’s the point: rolling through the door of the hospital and being inside would do this man no good unless he also met a physician who could help him … but getting inside was a necessary first step. And likewise, getting into church is not going to really cure your disconnection from God unless you meet up with Him there – the Great Physician … but getting inside is a really good first step.

May I invite you my friends – so many of you being local people who read my writings – to come inside the doors at Tri-State Fellowship beginning this Sunday (9:30). We begin a new season of ministry with a new way of worshipping and gathering … and we begin also this Sunday in a new teaching series called “Belong.”

Do you “belong?”  Do you really know God and have a relationship with Him that informs the steps of your lives today and guarantees you an eternal future with Him? If you fear you may not “belong,” we can help you out!  Don’t just remain so close, but so far.

A physician named Luke, who wrote one of the Gospels quoted Jesus saying, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

And Jesus himself said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

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