Monday, November 24, 2008

The Difference Between Night and Day

Recently during a fellowship meal I was talking to a young lady who attends regularly and brings her children. If the doors are open, she is present. As we were talking about church matters she remarked how it always astounds her to see the difference in numbers with regard to worship and Bible class, or the difference between the number present at morning and evening services.

There are some who have legitimate reasons for not being at every service. Some have health issues and others have specific occupations that demand for them to be absent at times. Most of the time however, the reasons people miss are not legitimate.

Over the years I have tried to come up with every possible solution to this problem. I have addressed this in sermons, articles, and Bible classes. I have discussed it homes, counseling sessions, and other visits. The church has offered programs, changed service times, and done everything possible to make it easier for people to attend. But I believe the real difference is seen in three areas where people have spiritual trouble.

1. This is their tradition. Some families have always been Sunday morning worship only families. What is good enough for the parents, seems good enough for the children. It is not often that you see the second generation of believers to be more dedicated than the first. These people are difficult to change, and difficult to persuade. Later on, when their children are unfaithful, marriages are breaking down, and other problems arise, they often have regrets.

2. The kingdom is not first. Jesus instructed those who would be His disciples, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..." (Matthew 6:33). Plain and simple, many people do not put the church first. The kingdom is an extension of themselves, rather than who they are. I do not know how to fix this problem. But I do know that people cannot excel spiritually as long as this condition remains.

3. This is their desire. Outside of those who simply are unable to attend, people are not at Bible class because they do not want to be there. They are not at the evening worship assemblies because they want to do something else. This is a heart issue. We all have a portion of our heart that God is still working on. So we are praying for God to work on hearts. Jesus said to His disciples, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer" (Luke 22:15). His desire was to commune with them. We will be what we need to be when we have the same desire to commune with our Savior as He has to fellowship with us.

The problem is as clear as the difference between night and day. It is about tradition. It is about priorities. It is about the heart.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." ~ Deuteronomy 6:5

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the message of this. For the first 20 years of my life, I was at church services "every time the doors were open" because of tradition and priorities. For the past year, I have struggled to make it once a week. It truly is as different as night and day. I'm lucky to have a friend who challenges me every week to rethink my priorities because it probably is that basic.