Saturday, November 2, 2019

Church … Really? - Martin Wiles

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 NLT

Church was the place I had to go, not necessarily wanted to go.

As a preacher’s kid, I had no choice about attending church. I went regardless. The only reasons Mom and Dad allowed me to miss were if I had an elevated temperature or if I was vomiting or had diarrhea. Dad preached; he couldn’t stay home with me. Mom played the piano or led the music. She couldn’t stay home with me either.

I wish I could say I always wanted to go to church, but I didn’t. In my younger years, I did. But the adolescent years brought a change of mind. Many of the friends I had accumulated didn’t go to church.

The ones who did were allowed to skip church sometimes. Not me. “As long as your feet are under my table, you will go to church,” Dad said.

After graduating high school and moving out, you would think I would have stopped going to church. I didn’t. For some reason, the pull to go overwhelmed me. Sure, I missed a few times, but normally I attended. And now, not out of duty or because I thought I’d go to hell if I didn’t. I attended because I wanted to. I enjoyed being around God’s people, singing the old hymns, and hearing God’s word preached and taught. What I didn’t always see a purpose for in my teenage years, I did now.

Early believers counted it a privilege to gather together, not a drudgery. They were often persecuted by the government, so they met quietly in small groups in peoples’ homes. The scenario is the same presently in many countries where the government or other religious groups persecute Christians. In spite of the danger, they meet. They do what the writer of Hebrews instructs: meet regularly and encourage one another.

Meeting with other believers, especially in a small group, keeps us accountable. Through their examples and the teaching of Scripture, we’re reminded about how we’re supposed to behave and think. Keeping in touch with those of like-minded faith encourages us in our walk with the Lord. Church provides the teaching we need and gives us a place to use the gifts and talents God has given us.

Church really is important. Make going a priority in your life.

Prayer: Father, give us the desire to gather with other believers as we await that eternity when all believers will be together forever.

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