Melting into the floor

November 12, 2010

I am not a big science guy.  I like Bill Nye the Science Guy. (At least when he is talking facts and not treating theories as if they were proven facts.)  Even more than Bill, I like Sid the Science Kid.  I learn something when I watch Sid, which is not often enough, or else I would be smarter.

But when I think about my Faith walk, I am sure that God would prefer that it was like an anabolic process rather than a catabolic process.

Anabolism is the set of metabolic pathways that construct molecules from smaller units. These reactions require energy. In other words, God wants us to build up, not break down.  (Romans 15:2, I Corinthians 8:1,   I Corinthians 14:12,  II Corinthians 10:8, II Corinthians 13:10,  Ephesians 4:16, 4:29, I Thessalonians 5:11) Especially when it comes to the church, and when it comes to relationships.

Building one another up, building up the church,  is an anabolic process.  Constructing something out of bits and pieces; taking small, good things and making a larger, greater thing – this is an anabolic process.  It requires energy.

Atrophy releases energy, lethargy releases energy.  Growth, positive change, creating, building, repairing, these all require energy.   But that is what God wants, it’s what he requires of his church, because growth is the only option.  A stagnant church, a stagnant believer, is really a dying or dead entity.

Often we are confused, because we see, activity and we think something is happening.  Let’s have a friend day!  And one percent of the congregation brings a friend.  But there’s a pot-luck lunch, so the building is warmer.  It’s interesting that Catabolism, which is the opposite of anabolism, breaks things down and creates energy. Maybe this is why people like to break things down, whether it be a relationship or a ministry. It creates energy, and therefore an illusion of something good being done.

But in the end it is all an illusion.  Because we can feel the heat we think something is happening.  Growing, on the other hand is tiring.  Growth, whether it is a growing Church, a growing relationship, or a growing individual uses rather than creates energy.  But something good is being created.  Creation takes work.  Work, like building one another up, takes work! It can be tiring.  But the rewards are, well, they are so rewarding.

We have a small space heater we use in lieu of turning on the furnace and heating the whole house.  We stay warm as long as we stay near.  On cold days it feels good, again, as long as we stay close.  Another cold morning option we avail ourselves of is going for a walk.  It starts out chilly.  But the longer we walk the warmer we feel.  And the benefits of the walk last.  Walking requires energy, and we get built up as a result.  Sitting next to the heater takes no energy at all – it just requires paying the electric company.  And there are no lasting benefits, as soon as we turn it off or walk away the warmth dissipates.

Churches and relationships are similar.  We can choose the more difficult, anabolic process, sweat a bit, work a bit and grow.  Or we can choose the easier, softer catabolic process.  And watch churches and relationships break down.  And warm ourselves by the fire of the process.   And dissolve into nothingness the way a cat melts into the carpet while sleeping next to the heater.  And a puddle of cats may be cute, but it accomplishes absolutely nothing.


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