pass through our minds everyday. Do you ever have a thought that
keeps repeatedly coming to mind? Me too. I want to take some time
to reflect on one in particular.
In the past few
months I have had a couple of conversations with someone who used
to attend our fellowship. This person has expressed to me that
they feel they have learned more about Jesus Christ and become
more of a Christian by reading and studying on their own than
they ever did coming to church. They don*t attend any church at this time
and don*t feel they
need to do so.
From the time
I was a little girl, I can remember my parents sending me to Sunday
school. Just after I turned 13 we started attending the Worldwide
Church of God. We went to church every weekend, missing was not
an option. I realize that under our beliefs at the time, strict
church attendance was expected. Now that we have been brought
into the glorious light of the new covenant by our Lord and Savior,
church attendance, to some seems to have become optional or a
matter of convenience. Are there ramifications if we choose this
option? This has made me ask myself: "Why do I attend church?"
First and foremost
what comes to mind is Hebrews 10:24-25, which says: 24) Let us
consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.
25) Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit
of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you
see the day drawing near.
need the fellowship of people who are Christians to encourage
me, to stimulate me to love others, and to inspire me to do good
deeds. Most importantly, at church I am reminded of the sacrifice
of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins and His love for
me. It is my appreciation of His forgiveness and my love for Him
that is the basis of my love for others. If my primary associations
are with "good people" who have no interest in God, then how are
they going to motivate me to have a closer walk with Jesus Christ?
Attending church inspires me to serve, reminds me whom I serve
and why, and shows me who God would have me serve.
I don*t believe God just wants me to see
who has a physical need, take care of it and then go on to the
next person. God cares about those things, but I believe His primary
concern is our spiritual well-being. In order to be able to help
in this way, I have to know a person on a more intimate level;
then through that friendship and the living example of God*s peace in my own life, God can use
me to minister to the hurting individual. In what better environment
can this be accomplished than in church where we see each other
week after week. We get to know one another and over time develop
a bond of trust.
In the busyness
of life, it is difficult to find time for God. I can imagine how
much more difficult it would be if I did not designate a specific
day to worship Him. Attending church keeps God in my focus more
than just the one day. Church is my catalyst for the next week.
Personally, if I were to stay home
and study on my own, without the teaching, support and stimulation
of a body of believers I would soon lose my motivation and become
stale. The cares of life would consume me and God would be pushed
further and further from my thoughts to the point I would no longer
have time for Him.
says: 15) I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot;
I would that you were cold or hot. 16) So because you are lukewarm,
and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Every
time I read these verses, I find the same message there. Regardless
of the context, the message God gives me is that He wants me to
be an active, involved Christian. He hates mediocrity. If I am
committed to Him and I love Him, then I am to be zealous; be in
church: and serve Him with the talent and ability He has given
me with every fiber of my being.