|Volume 18 Number 11 November 2016||
Dan Williams tells the story of two preachers who were visiting over a cup of coffee. The first preacher said to the second, “I cancelled our Sunday night services about five months ago.” “You did?” the second preacher replied, “What do your church members think?” The first preacher said, “I suspect they’ll be pretty upset if they ever find out about it.”
The meeting times for worship, study and edification are not meant to be arbitrary requirements that test the spiritual discipline and commitment level of Christians. Rather, these opportunities are intended to be functional to encourage, inform and strengthen those who are trying to walk worthily in an ungodly world. Why is it that some people will say with exasperation, “Oh no, we have church services tonight, and I’ve had such a bad week,” instead of saying, “Thank goodness we have church services tonight because I’ve had a bad week”?
The difference in the two is the difference between “form” and “function.” If one views church services simply as a “form” that must be checked off our “to-do list,” he will see that assembly differently than the one who acknowledges the “function” and purpose of the assembly. Maybe church members need to reevaluate the way they view these assemblies and to see them not as an arbitrary requirement, but as opportunities. Maybe church leaders need to reevaluate the function of these assemblies to insure that the assemblies fulfill their intended purpose.
Raised to Be a Man
A young boy sitting in the backseat of the car yells out to his parents, “It’s not fair. Why can’t I have it?” The boy continues to grow older and older. He is now in his adolescent years. “Why, why do we have to go to church?” The boy is now a teenager. “You just don’t understand. You have never been through what I am going through!” The boy goes off to college. “I’m not a child anymore. I can do what I want to do.” The boy is now a husband and a father. “What am I going to do?”
His entire life he thought that he was being trained to be a child when in all actuality he was being raised to be a man. His parents taught him that life is not always easy, and we do not always get what we want. They taught him to work hard in this life and be responsible. They taught him to love others and stand up for what is right. They taught him care, compassion and love. Most importantly, they taught him about God and all the things that our Savior has done for us. They taught him about prayer and how our Lord is listening and watching over us.
Being a child is not always easy. Sometimes youths make the wrong decisions. Things can be confusing, and at times young people learn lessons the hard way. The same is true for being a parent. Each day is a new journey. Some days will be better than others. We will find mountaintops, and we will find valleys. Yet, no matter what, keep God first in life. “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).