Summary: Fruitful families develop the holy habit of church involvement.
8 Words to Change Your Family: Church
Rev. Brian Bill
I confess that I feel really sad most Sunday mornings. You would think it would be just the opposite because I look forward to worshipping with God’s incredible people at PBC. I love having the opportunity to dig into God’s Word each week and open it up to hungry people. But I’m sad about what people miss when they’re not here.
How do you explain what happened two weeks ago in the second service when so many got up out of their seats to “ring the bell” and then let go of the rope, to signify that they had given forgiveness to someone they had been holding hostage? Or how about those who missed last week hearing from Carol Varner, a widow, talk about what God is doing in her life since Gary died? How do you communicate what it was like to hear Masha Wilkinson, a former orphan from Russia, share her feelings about going back to Russia to minister to orphans? I don’t know how to put into words what it was like to listen to a widow and a former orphan strive to live out James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Another reason I’m sad on Sundays is that when people aren’t here, we miss out on their contribution to the body of Christ. Romans 12:5: “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Each person has something to contribute to others and when they’re absent; their words of encouragement and exhortation are absent as well. I sometimes joke with people when they tell me that they weren’t able to come to a service by telling them that we thought about cancelling church because they weren’t here. Of course I’m teasing but in a real sense we miss out when others miss church because we belong to one another.
And, there’s a third reason I’m sad. I’m sad when parents choose other activities over church attendance because of the message this sends to their kids. The message is this. Sports are more important than Sunday services. Having some fun in the sun ends up trumping fellowship with the Son and with His people.
Let me be quick to say that I’m not trying to be negative or to make you feel guilty because you miss a service or two. I totally understand that there are some legitimate reasons why people are unable to attend. I get that. For example, I know of a PBC member that is not here today because she visits her elderly mother twice a month in another town. Others are unable to come because of work or sickness or pain or lack of transportation or for other more hidden reasons. And a bunch of people are taking a long weekend to kick off the summer vacation season. I understand all this but there seems to be a growing disposition in our culture against church.
Have you seen the commercial for fried chicken that shows families being together and having fun? Here’s the voiceover: “You gotta love Sunday. It’s like everyone came together and said, ‘If it’s good, let’s save it for Sunday.’ The best games. The best papers. The best times. The best day of the week just got better.” I’m not sure how greasy chicken makes Sundays better but I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that there was no mention of Sunday as a day to participate in a church service as a family. Chicken, yes. Church, no. They did get part of it right, however. If it’s good, let’s save it for Sunday. Here’s the big idea today: Fruitful families develop the holy habit of church involvement.
I heard about a golfer who was twenty minutes late at the first tee one Sunday morning, and the other three members of the regular four-some were almost ready to start without him. When he finally arrived, he gave this explanation: “I agreed with my wife that this Sunday I’d toss a coin to see whether I played golf or went to church. Heads, I played golf. Tails, I went to church. Wouldn’t you know it; I had to toss that coin forty-three times before it came up heads.”
That reminds me of what took place one Sunday morning when a mother tried to wake her son up for church. The son replied, “I’m not going.” “Why not?” she asked. “I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said. “One, they don’t like me, and two, I don’t like them.” To which she replied, “I’ll give you two good reasons why you should go to church. One, you’re 54 years old, and two, you’re the pastor!”