Neglecting Our Meeting Together
“Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but keeping it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” – Alice Walker
Sitting on the porch on a Wednesday night in Ocala, Fl, I have been reflecting on Christians “meeting together”. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to “not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing…” This is the famous ‘go to church’ verse. Now, here’s the thing, I am not in the camp that prescribes to a certain Sabbath day. I do not believe that we have to worship together on Sundays and Wednesdays. However, I do believe that God is the most important thing in life, and we make time for what is important to us. I get slightly entertained when someone says, “Well, I don’t have to go to church to worship God or be a Christian.” Then I reply, “Then I take it you are studying Scripture and in prayer each day, finding ways to evangelize your community and world, and making disciples?” That is when they are left with nothing to say, because all it was in the first place was an excuse.
The church was created as a unit. We are one body with many parts, as 1 Corinthians 12 tells us. That chapter also tells us that we belong to each other. The church was created to be a community. We were created to worship together, disciple together, evangelize together, give together, share together, sacrifice together, and fulfill the Great Commission together. Unfortunately, we have become too busy to be together.
There is a disheartening trend growing in the church today. Apparently, we don’t like each other, because we don’t meet together anymore. Wednesday night services are an endangered species, and Sunday night services are on the extinction list. Don’t get me wrong, I love small groups in homes, but it hurts to see our congregations only meeting together on Sunday mornings. And even that is cut out if there is a baseball game or if it’s hunting season or if there is something “better” to do.
WORSHIPING GOD AS A COMMUNITY DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND MY LIFE. MY LIFE REVOLVES AROUND WORSHIPING GOD.
I hope that got my point across. You make time for what is important to you. Period. Another trend I am noticing is having services on other times of the week, like Thursday or Saturday. Like I previously stated, I do not believe there is anything wrong with that. Let me provide Scripture to support:
“One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.” – Romans 14:5-6
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration, or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” – Colossians 2:16-17
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God-or rather are known by Him-how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.” – Galatians 4:8-11
The Galatians were the ones slipping back into legalism. They had received salvation by grace and then fell into the trap of trying to keep it with works. The stance I take is not a legalistic one, but rather a priority one. Where are our priorities?
Recently, Leslie and I had the opportunity to go scalloping in the Gulf off the coast of Florida. However, we denied the invitation because it was on a Sunday morning. Some would call us legalistic, but I believe we simply have our priorities straight. And, truth be told, as fun as scalloping in the Gulf would be, I found myself feeling that I would rather be in church than doing that.
Maybe the heart of the entire issue is our own heart. Do we even enjoy meeting together? Do we thirst for righteousness? Do we really want to go and learn and grow and sing and tithe and fellowship? We can move church services all we want, but it will not change the heart of the issue. There is a reason that Sundays have been taken over. We are not making God the priority. We do not have the attitude that says, “God is the most important. And besides that, I would rather be worshiping Him with others than hunting/fishing/sleeping/going to a concert/playing basketball/fill in the blank_______.”
We can choose to fill our entire week with other activities and then say, “Well Sunday night is my time for family.” Is the church not your family? Who made you busy every other night of the week so that you can’t worship with your brothers and sisters? People can think I’m naive because I don’t have kids, but I can tell you that my kids will know that their father puts God first. And if that means my son doesn’t go to a game on Sunday, then that’s what it means. Heck, by the time I have a son that old, the schools will probably have games on Sundays! And if that means that my daughter will miss practice on Wednesdays, then that’s what it means. If it gets my kids kicked off teams, then so be it. They will be better off hearing the Word of God than getting some batting practice.
Join me in the effort to take back our community worship. Let’s take back Sunday from the world. Let’s take back Wednesday night from the coaches. Not in a Galatian way. This is not about legalism. This is not for our salvation. It is for God. It is for our children. Does your life revolve around God, or are you trying to make God revolve around your life?
Commanded and Called,