By Donald Cline
So, I’m out walking the dogs after church tonight. And, as I always do, I was just talking with God, thanking him for another opportunity to be in His house, for the good people who chose to come out, for our workers, for His precious Word. In general just praising Him for being such a great God!
Then I just stopped talking and listened. If we’ll do that, we’ll be amazed at what He says. He got me thinking about church attendance. While I’ve learned to be so grateful for all who choose to show up for each and every service they are able to, God impressed upon me these thoughts:
Suppose you decided going to work was an option. One day you wake up, don’t feel like going to work for no good reason and just take the day off. Don’t call anyone. No text message. No email. No Facebook/Instagram/Tweet/LinkedIn. Nothing. You figure work is an option anyway. No big deal.
How long do you think you’ll be taking home a paycheck from that job?
Clearly, I’m being a bit facetious. But am I? Yes, to feed our families, pay the bills, keep a roof over our head, we need a job. Not showing up is not an option. No work, no paycheck. They just don’t make park benches as comfortable as they used to be.
So, why is attending church services seen as an option to so many? And I’m talking to church members. Those blood-bought born again, redeemed, made righteous by the blood of the Lamb Christians who have chosen to be associated with a good church. Olde Tyme or any other church.
So many people will use any excuse to not attend. A third cousin’s baby has their first birthday on a Sunday morning and “gotta be there!” Canada is playing for the Gold Medal at 4:AM. Must be patriotic! Missing the game isn’t an option. Church is. Got a hang nail. No problem. After all, church is optional.
Making discretionary plans that take us away from church without any regard to consequences runs rampant in churches today. We desire God’s blessings. We pray for needs and wants expecting God to answer on our behalf. Yet, making a concentrated effort to honor God by being faithful to the institution His Son died for is optional.
So, why is it optional to so many? Because (in their mind) there is no accountability. You won’t lose a paycheck if you miss. You won’t get fired if you miss. You won’t be disciplined if you miss. I mean, what’s the difference? After all, church is optional, not mandatory.
This is what I might call a “short term mindset.” I mean, it’s true. You won’t lose your income, won’t lose your job, won’t be disciplined by your employer if you miss, but God may just take that good job away so you have the time to attend. And there will be consequences on the other side. So, for the sake of a little “pleasure” and slothfulness during this life, we sacrifice blessings for all eternity.
Judgment day is coming. We will all stand before our Lord and Saviour one day. In Matt. 25:14-30 we read about three servants. Two were “faithful”, one was “wicked”. Two were rewarded for their faithfulness and were blessed throughout eternity, one was punished for his wickedness because he literally thought serving his Lord was “optional”.
So, we can continue to think faithfulness is option. We can “enjoy the pleasures” of this world and pay an eternal price. Or, we can make the decision that faithfulness is not an option and reap the rewards of our faithfulness throughout eternity.
I thank God for His faithful children who have made the latter decision. And urge those who continue to indiscriminately miss services to consider the eternal consequences of those decisions.
As a post script, let me clarify, that I understand many have jobs that don’t respect our desire to not work on Sundays/Wednesdays. I continue to ask God to work in the hearts of these employers. And God answers; starting April Florin will be on a Mon – Fri schedule and be available for all services. Praise God! My advice is be faithful for all the services God does give you those days off and He will clear the way for the others. But if He gives you a Sunday or Wednesday off and you still choose to miss, you should not expect Him to clear other days because your not faithful to the days He does give you.
King David wrote: Psalms 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Something to consider.
Keep Lookin’ UP!