Hebrews 10:24-25 (HCSB) 24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
Willie, an elderly, lifelong member of my church has always been a blessing to me. He has never been without a story of how the Lord has proven Himself or of how important it is that people know the Lord. But our earthly bodies do not stay young and vibrant forever. Willie is not able to make it to church every Sunday. It now takes a great deal of assistance and effort on the part of others for him to attend. For those of us at church, our experience of ‘Willie’ is not the same. He no longer recites to us what he has found to be the key in Matthew 6:33 “SEEK ye first the kingdom of God, and all things will be added unto you. (Willie’s emphasis added.) ‘You have to seek the Lord.’ ” How God must smile at his devotion, now locked within his spirit.
Willie’s faith is unashamed and unshakable. His enthusiastic evangelism may be a bit uncomfortable to some. He wants everyone to know what he knows… that unless one is saved through faith in Jesus Christ he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. The decline in church attendance frustrated and puzzled Willie. He wondered why people don’t care to attend and would frequently ask, ‘Why are there so many churches out there?’ (In our small community, there are at least six.) The truth is that if our entire community attended worship, we would need those six churches and more.
Every church that preaches salvation through God’s Son, Jesus Christ – and His sacrifice, regardless of doctrine, will be used by God to build His kingdom. Only God knows the condition of each heart and what each one will respond to. Some churches are quite relaxed in worship style and dress. Others may deliver, what some would call, a ‘feel good message.’ There are others that adhere to strict (some may say rigid) doctrine, dress code, and ‘rules’ of worship. There are various degrees of both in between that make up the spectrum.
Personalities, preferences, and even politics could be the reasons. These things are not necessarily ‘bad.’ They are, however, the human factors. When people are involved things get complicated. God may choose to allow so many churches because there are so many levels of spiritual understanding. This, however, is not an excuse to remain stagnant in our faith.
Hebrews 5:12-14 (VOICE) 12 By this time, you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet I feel like you want me to reteach you the most basic things that God wants you to know. It’s almost like you’re a baby again, coddled at your mother’s breast, nursing, not ready for solid food. 13 No one who lives on milk alone can know the ins and outs of what it means to be righteous and pursue justice; that’s because he is only a baby. 14 But solid food is for those who have come of age, for those who have learned through practice to distinguish good from evil.
Some accept Jesus as their Savior yet they do not continue to seek. They may feel loyalty to a church or denomination… or pastor, instead of loyalty to the Word of God that saved them. God understands these human tendencies. But spiritual maturity will come only as we continue to seek and serve Him.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (HCSB) 11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
The sad truth is that many do not seek to worship God at any type of a worship service, relaxed, rigid or otherwise. Lives have become overloaded with work, play, and exhaustion that the Sabbath is no longer a day of worship and refreshing, but one of collapse – or continuation the same.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 (HCSB) 11 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you – this is the Lord’s declaration –
Lord, may this world be changed as we seek your Truth.
Great truths! SEEK. Getting ready to go to church for HIM alone! When I moved south I was excited to move to the Bible belt. It’s been hard to see how little God is sought where religion is cultural more than personal. It has helped me, though, realize that some of my commitment WAS to church, to leaders I treasured. The hard stuff is purifying my commitment to Jesus. Thanks for the motivation I need for a right Sunday focus!