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Beware of the Lobby Lizards
Our church lobby is full of lizards. As they crawl around the church lobby, other activities are going on, as if they already have mastered the topic the pastor is discussing. Maybe they have the Bible memorized so they don’t need to study it bit by bit. Anyway, the lobby lizards are multiplying!
Maybe it started with one person who had a legitimate excuse to wander through the lobby. Maybe he had a bad back or was prone to allergic reactions when faced with the truth. For many, retreating to the lobby is a sign of spiritual maturity. Especially for those who sit in the high back chairs next to the table below the pastor’s portrait. It seems like a place of honor!
I always wonder why those people (mostly men) hang out in the church lobby early on Sunday mornings. So that they have everyone in place who needs to be there, right? So that they could tell their business partner that they were “at church” on Sunday? This is always a great support when it comes to closing deals. Is it a good luck charm to prevent some kind of disaster next week? I don’t know… and I can’t seem to get these guys.
Lobby lizards never look happy. Oh, and they smile and say “morning” when they meet another person face to face, but they look like they don’t really want to be there. But they have their opinions – loud opinions! The music is too modern, the pastor has too long songs, the youth pastor is too hyper, the kids are out of control. The worship center is too hot, the lobby is too cold, the parking lot is too full, and the host doesn’t sound like he’s playing the same song as everyone else!
Another breed of lobby lizard is equally puzzling. It’s the “I’m too busy to be in one spot” lizard that comes in and out of my small group every week. A “leader” who behaves like a pit bull who has not eaten for three days! He’s a pleasure to be around… not really! He came in to “be seen,” but when it was time for Bible study to begin, he suddenly jumped up and headed for the door.
Did I say something offensive? Maybe! People will be offended, “Get your Bible and read James chapter 1.” Maybe he doesn’t like me. Although I’m a nice guy, my direct approach to things may bother some people. I keep saying I’m not worried about it, but writing this seems to suggest otherwise. Perhaps I am more troubled by people who act as leaders but act contrary to the concept of leadership.
I realize I’m not the sharpest knife in the closet, but some things are clear. Over the years I have discovered some facts that I wish were not true:
1. Many of the blasphemers and unhappy people in the church are lobby lizards of one kind or another. They have a permanent frown on their face and avoid engaging in activities that help them cope with whatever aging behavior they have.
2. Lobby lizards bite. If they don’t like something, they let the world know about it. They become sick and vengeful to those on their hit list.
3. Lobby lizards are very similar to chameleons. As for spirituality, they can turn it on before they sink their teeth into your leg! Tourists think these people are the welcoming committee… except they rarely welcome anyone! A casual observer sees them as “fixtures” of the church … and they are … like fountains, they have a permanent place in the corridor somewhere near the bathroom.
I don’t understand lobby lizards and I’m sure they don’t understand me. I’ve been in the church long enough to be exposed to the best lobby lizards in the business. Some were deacons, some charter members, some even worked in churches.
However, I learned how to fend off the lobby lizards. It’s simple: stay close to God’s Word. You see, the lobby lizards don’t want to hear what the Bible says because it might reveal what they know to be true – they hinder rather than help the ministry of the church and God’s reputation in society. . The closer I get to God, the less lobby lizards bother me. Oh, I still have that person who makes us all feel like she’s running out of the classroom when I start teaching, but she’s running away from God, not me!
Jonah decided to run away from God and he was cut off from life for three days. Like Jonah, most lobby lizards in your church and mine are serving spiritual suspension. That is why they are angry and frown. They don’t understand that true joy comes from a real, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, not from taking up space in church.
Pray for lobby lizards; Their spiritual avoidance is something we all need to help them overcome!
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