After All These Years…Where is Shiloh Headed?

According to Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Church,” every church is driven by something: Tradition, Finances, Programs, Personalities, Events, event-Seekers; or even the edifice itself. Any one of these things can become the guiding light in the ministry of the church over time. As we commemorate Pastor Washington’s 31st year of pastoral service at Shiloh, and on the brink of celebrating Shiloh’s 114th year of illuminous history, what will you say has been our shining moment. Beyond this building and the mission that began back in 1907 with Ms. Glendora Hankins, and a few, we are about more than tradition, finances, programs, personalities, or event-seekers. We are about something greater.

Most of our lives are filled with drudgery and the tedious tasks that draw upon our faith infects our witness and wreaks havoc on our discipline to live the Christian Life. Recently I expressed some frustration to Pastor about applying the gospel to my life; how it seemed evident to me that maybe the gospel had stopped working. But Pastor lovingly let me get out my frustration, then most assuredly let me know that the gospel still works; and he did it with the Word of God. What he said, I did not particularly like, shrugged my shoulders, and I went away like the rich man in the Bible, who Jesus told to sell everything, and then come and follow Him, “You still lack one thing.” (Luke 18:18-30). O, how it hurts for me to admit that to you.

But what Pastor said made me realize that it is through the drudgery of life that it is easy to allow legalistic obedience to muddy the gospel. We discover something beautiful about Christ and the gospel but then after some time (and life events) instead of it remaining transforming good news that overflows into worship, and gratitude, we turn it into a means of gaining acceptance, once again taking up the yoke of bondage to sin, our former master. Serving the Lord, and yet expecting that He owes us something. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Drudgery is defined as hard. Mindless. Backbreaking work. Exhausting. The term is used to define tasks which are unrewarding, boring, or unpleasant. If you have ever had to do laundry, wash the dishes, prepare the meals, change the bedding, vacuum the house, or clean the bathroom day after day, you’ve experienced drudgery. If you have ever had to take care of a sick child, or spouse; or an aging parent; or received the call that comes in the middle of the night, you have experienced drudgery. If you have ever had to bury a loved one, you know the depths of drudgery. With drudgery comes fatigue, and frustration of unpleasant things that must be done. We want to get away from the everyday drudgery of life, and we seek out ways to escape, but more to our detriment than good. And as quiet as it has kept, those of us who are Christians, expect that we can get a pass. Not so.

Drudgery is one of life’s greatest tests, because it repeats itself in our lives on a daily basis. There is no getting around the events of the surprises in life. Drudgery actually determines the authenticity of our character. It tests the truth of our spirituality, and it is the barometer to whether we are spiritually genuine, or not. In essence, but not in these exact words, Pastor told me to take a look at myself and to stop wagging my finger at God. He challenged me to weigh my expectations for my life by the Sovereignty of God, and that settled it. I confess to you that drudgery, for me, had become a personal battle, and I was letting drudgery win.

Pastor said it, and with some soul-searching, through the wisdom of God, I realize that obedience is the cure for drudgery; “Why are you so polite to me, always saying ‘Yes, sir’ and ‘That’s right, sir’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build life on.” (Luke 6:46-47 TMB).

Shiloh, I said all of this to say that for 31 years it has been Pastor’s calling to shepherd and lead us into a Healthy Body, where we can all grow. By teaching, preaching, and instruction in the Word of God, he has created an environment where drudgery and hindrances to our growth are removed. He has watered, turned over soil, pulled up weeds, and exposed us to Son-light, all in the interest of creating a healthy church. God, the Father, has done all that He is going to do in planning our Salvation. God, the Son has done all that he is going to do in purchasing our Salvation; and God, the Holy Spirit has done all that He is going to do, in Sealing us.  When it comes to taking initiative against drudgery, we have to take the first step. Drudgery makes us sick. We have heard Pastor say, ‘the church is like a hospital,’ many times. While we may look alright, we are all sick, and in need of Doctor Jesus. The good news is that the doctor is always in.’

When a human body is out of balance we call that disease, a malady in the body, which leads to illness.  Shiloh is an organism, made up of living things (you and me). Living things can grow or stagnate depending on their surroundings. Our Sovereign Lord takes our human flesh and transforms it. And now every believer’s body has become the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are In-Christ! And He is in us. We are the temple of God. There is no condition in life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.

As we look to where we are headed, Shiloh, let us not make the mistake of comparing ourselves to other churches, getting caught up in programs, and event-seekers; nor create agendas outside of God’s purpose and plan for us. Let us not be weary in well-doing. We have a clearly defined purpose and vision statement for our Church: “We Want to be Like Jesus. We are a Church that models the life, the teachings, and the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ to the best of our ability. We are a church that is willing to be convinced of who he is, an expression of his life; committed to what He taught, an expression of his teachings, and consistent with what he did, an expression of His ministry. We want to Live Like Him. We want to Give Like Him. We want to Serve Like Him”. In the Gospel of John 13:14, the incarnate God performs the greatest example of drudgery by washing the feet of fishermen, then says to them, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

If you have ever wondered, what Shiloh is all about, reflect on the words of our Vision statement. It clearly communicates our destination. As such we are on the road to a healthy church, where there is no dis-ease. I read somewhere, that ‘Vision without a task is only a dream. A task without a vision is but drudgery. But vision with a task is a dream fulfilled.” If we will arise and shine, drudgery will be divinely transformed. Our confidence is only in Jesus. He alone is able to complete what He started. And in these 114 years later, since the beginning of Shiloh, through fellowship, discipleship, worship, ministry, and evangelism, we are on our way to better. That is a reason to celebrate.

Submitted By Irene Gardon