A few years ago, there wasn’t a whole lot to be optimistic about if you were a member of the Quakertown, Pennsylvania Optimist Club. Believe it or not, they called it quits after 24 years of service in their community. Club President, Bernard Kensky, citing member apathy, said it was a sad day for the club.
The Optimists are a worldwide organization formed in 1920 to serve the needs of local communities. The Quakertown Optimist club began in 1980 with 35 members. However, in recent months they’d dwindled down to 11 members. Mr. Kensky said, “Four or five people would come to meetings and only two or three people would help with the activities.” As members died and others retired, no one stepped forward to take their place. Ever the optimist himself, Mr. Kensky said, “It was something I enjoyed doing.” But even his optimism couldn’t overcome the apathy of others and save the club.
Over the years, the Quakertown Optimists had worked with area schools on a number of activities and contests for students, sponsoring several sporting events. They even co-sponsored a bicycle derby with the Quakertown police department. However, the number of participants continued to drop as members were dropping out of club meetings. Apathy is contagious, indifference infectious.
Thankfully, we’re not dependent on the Optimist club to have optimists in our world. In fact, there’s another organization that’s been around a lot longer than 1920, and has been providing the most prolific, positive optimists the world has ever known. Optimists that won’t quit. That organization is the church.
The Church of the Lord, Jesus Christ, not only has the best reasons in all the world to be optimistic, we also have a Biblical responsibility to do so. If ever there were a group of people who could provide positive words to a pessimistic world, it’s the church. If ever there were an organization that could bring healing, help and hope to a hopeless, hurting humanity, hurtling toward Hell itself, it’s the church. In fact, the church is the only genuine place of hope this world has ever had or ever will have.
But what would happen if we quit? What would happen if we decided we no longer wanted to share the Good News of the Gospel? What would happen if we kept the faith instead of sharing it? What would happen if we joined the doom and gloomers, and settled in with the cynics and skeptics, predicting and prophesying the worst is yet to come? What would happen if we stopped holding JESUS up as the Hope of the world? Talk about a pessimistic possibility.
That’s never going to happen. Know why? Because Christians won’t quit, and we can’t quit. Genuine, authentic followers of Jesus Christ can never quit. Fakers will falter. Phonies will fall by the wayside. Hypocrites will hang it up, and pretenders will grow weary of playing a role they never really believed in. But bonafide believers will keep at it until they cross the finish line with enthusiastic energy and supernatural strength that will defy description. Sure there will be stumbles and tumbles along the way. But they will finish – it’s in their DNA. They were born again to do it. They are simply following in the footsteps of the most formidable OPTIMIST the world has ever known, and will faithfully follow Him ’til they reach that place called Glory.
Every Sunday when we gather to worship together, we celebrate the most magnificent, most optimistic event in all of human history: the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. His resurrection is an everlasting reminder that even in the face of insurmountable odds and incredible opposition, JESUS, the Son of the Living God, our Savior, didn’t quit. The world needs to hear that message. They also need to know . . .
. . . because He didn’t quit . . . we won’t either!
© 2014. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.