See you at church!
Sunday, for most people, is a day that is different to the rest of the busy, demanding week. Sunday generally has a slow start – there is no alarm clock, no rush to finish breakfast, drop the children at school and dash off to work. Sunday becomes a day of rest to spend with the family.
In this context going to church becomes a challenge. It is so much easier to choose not to go, after all there are no visible consequences of not going to church. Yet, there are many who have made a decisive commitment to go to church despite having to overcome many different obstacles. Why are people willing to give up a day of rest or opportunity to sell and make money? Why are people willing to wade through flooded creeks to come to church as we recently experienced in Lopburi, Central Thailand?
If we simply view church as a place that we need to attend, we have made church an idol! Many people love the teachings of Jesus, but get upset when Jesus calls for us to give him our lives, forgetting that Jesus gave is everything first.
Jesus laid down his life first, before He asks for ours. He restored our broken relationship with God when he died on the cross to rise again and intentionally pursues us in love. He gave up everything and then calls us to Himself. He does not force us to respond. His love is so great that it compels us to lay down our lives in return, which is the only appropriate response when we understand just how great His sacrifice was for us. When we understand what he has done for us, going to church is no longer a question of meeting at a particular place and going through ritualistic motions. Going to church is an essential part of the week where we can be restored, nurtured, challenged and transformed to become the people that God initially intended us to be.
So when we feel like we do not want to go to church to worship God, we need to ask ourselves have we placed more priority on something else, like selfish desires, rest or are we shaping worshipping God into our image and making these into idols. “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak. “— Psalm 115:8. I believe that the challenge for us all is to keep our relationship with Jesus a priority and if this means going through some obstacles to go to church then the day can only be filled with adventure and excitement.
Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)