09 July, 2007

Why Do You Go To Church?

As I sit here trying to write this, I am hesitant, because I don't want to come across as judgmental or harsh; yet this question has been nagging at me for the past few weeks that I would love to ask the masses of people: "Why do you go to church?"
I'd really like to hear people give a real honest answer to that question.
I know that most would give the pat answer about how they love God, yada, yada, yada... but I have to ask, is that the truth?

You see, I hear people say that they love God and want to serve God, but then the walk does not line up with that statement. Their church attendance does not reflect such love; neither does their giving to the church, nor does their contribution of their time, talents and energy toward the Kingdom work.
It seems anymore, people believe that attending the house of worship and giving their tithe and offering is optional, or is only necessary when they are in attendance. It appears that many think that if they are either not able to make it to church (or they just chose not to go) then they have "bonus money" to spend that week, as if they only have to "pay" for when they go, as if they were paying for the show or something. It says to me (and more importantly to the Lord) they those who follow this pattern in giving have not recognized his Lordship in their lives.

Church attendance says a lot to me. In the past several weeks, I have seen our attendance go up and down like a yo-yo. Looking at the congregation where I pastor, I can see several folks who have fallen into the pattern of coming to church only if there is nothing else to do. Several in the church have gotten to where they come to church on average of one Sunday per month. In their minds, it is because there is always something that keeps them from coming to church, but the reality is that attending worship falls way down their list of priorities. If this were not true, they would not miss 4 or 5 weeks in a row because they were "just too busy."

Here's my question: "Can you really say you love someone, and not make time for them?"
When I met my wife, and fell in love with her, I wanted to talk with her and spend as much time with her as I could. Although she was in college over an hour away from where I lived, and I had to work, that did not stop me from seeing her. I would get off work, clean up and make the drive to her school, returning very late at night so that I could get a bit of sleep and head back to work again. If something kept me from going to see her, I was on the phone with her. I just had to be in contact with her, and that led to my asking her to marry me and I have spent the last 21 and a half years spending my time with her and talking with her. That's what you do when you love someone.

So, how does that relate to someone who says they love God, but they only come to the House of God once or twice a month? How does that relate to those who say they treasure their relationship with God and that they want to serve Him, but place him way down their list of priorities? I have to say, that in my opinion, many of these folks have not fallen in love with the Lord, but rather they fear Hell to the place that they want to go to church in hopes that they might make it into Heaven.
Relationship can not be cultivated upon fear; it must be based on love.

So ask yourself... "Why do I go to church?"

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