Vol. 7, No. 9
~ Page 18 ~
Since this (and no other) preacher has anything of which to boast, or in which to glory concerning attendance numbers in worship, we wish to share with you these sentiments from the December, 2004 issue of Christian Courier, in an article based on the text of Hebrews 3:12, entitled, "Falling Away From the Living God":
Church attendance is at an all-time state of disarray. Numerous members of the body of Christ think nothing whatever about abandoning the Lord's day appointment for a family gathering or a sports event. They seem not to have the remotest ideas as to the significance of the Savior's mandate, "Seek first the kingdom of God." (Mt. 6:33). "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together." (Heb. 10:25), means "only if it is convenient." If commitment to the Son of God requires the surrender of one's physical life-if necessary (Rev. 2:10), how do you suppose one will fare who neglects the most sacred of religious duties for the most trifling of personal interests? (Wayne Jackson 31)
Earlier in the article, Jackson remembered that at times some members had made remarks like, "Don't expect to see me at services when the 49ers are playing" (30). This is expected from our non-Christian co-workers, family and friends, but should never characterize the attitude of God's people! However, such lures of the world commonly infiltrate and disrupt the commitment of Christians to one another and to God. To borrow a phrase from James, "My brethren, these things ought not so to be!" (3:10).
Certainly, there are instances (sickness, death, etc.) in which all of us will likely miss worship, like it or not. It is even more likely we will be hindered from attending mid-week services, considering the burden of providing for our families has become so difficult (longer shifts, multiple jobs, both parents working, etc.). However, simply refusing an opportunity to darken the pleasant meetinghouse doors on account of lesser engagements (or, sadder still, no engagement at all) is to test the ends of God's patience and longsuffering.
Each time a period of worship or study is on the horizon, and we begin to ask whether or not we will attend, let us ask ourselves, "What if Jesus had changed his mind about attending the crucifixion?" "What if God just 'forgotten' to forgive me of my sins?" "What if God chose not to listen to prayer today, in favor of something else?" "What if God decided we were not worth his time anymore?" And let us each consider the words of the old preacher who said, "I don't have to ask myself each time if I will attend services, I made that decision 50 years ago when I became a Christian!"