This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator. Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions where she is a monthly contributor.
It was one of those conversations that you could have any day of the week.
You could be in the grocery store, doctor’s office, on the playground, it doesn’t really matter. You’ve just met a stranger, easy to talk to, you start with small talk about your families.
I had one of those. It was life-changing.
She was a sweetheart. A mother of two, she worked five days a week, came home, cooked dinner and helped with homework. Then spent the rest of the evening doing the usual chores; baths, packing lunches, laundry, normal things we all do, day in, day out.
She talked about how blessed her children were to have such a wonderful school to attend. They still said the Pledge of Allegiance…she stressed the real Pledge of Allegiance with under God! They were even still allowed to attend a weekly, church-sanctioned, afternoon Bible class! Yes, this is a public school. She went on and on about how safe they felt there, how her parents lived just up the road, life just couldn’t be much better.
Then I guess I backed her in a corner, without meaning to, when I said something about church. With everything she had just described about her life I just assumed she attended.
She said, “Oh, we have Bibles in our house, but we don’t do the church thing.”
And before I had a chance to say anything she stumbled, mumbled and said, “Well, we are just busy on the weekends and all…” and with that she found an excuse to make a quick exit.
Now, before you fill my comment box up with “We don’t have to go to church to feel God…”, you are correct, we sure don’t. I will get to that in a moment. Bear with me here, I was actually more saddened by the “We have Bibles IN our house….” because I could tell by the way she said it that those Bibles probably didn’t get read any more than the children were getting taken to Sunday School.
It was wonderful that she was so happy her children were in a good school that paid honor to God, and in a good community that still allowed God in the schools, a rarity in our country! But for all of her commendations to her school and her community, she had left the King of Kings out of her home. The Bibles are there but they aren’t being used.
That may be true of many church-going Christians and that is a dangerous place to be. The Word truly is a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path”. Without it we stumble and fall and blindly lose our way.
I may be taking a few liberties here since I do not personally know this stranger but “We don’t do the church thing” is speaking a mouthful to me. Has she been hurt somewhere before? Disillusioned? Lost her faith along the way? Can’t bring herself to trust in leadership?
Or is it laziness? The American “sleep-in-on-Sunday” culture, or the attitude that says, “I’ll do it my way.”
Because, my friend, we need the Body of Christ, we need the community and the unity that comes from the assembling of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25)
We must hear the preaching of the Word of God! “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
And in answer to those that have been hurt, abused, lied to, and misled in a church house somewhere on this planet, as a former pastor’s wife, my sincerest apologies. That should never be in the House of God. But Jesus did not do it. People did.
People are just people and unfortunately they are still people in the church too. You will find the complainers, the naysayers, the gossipers, backbiters, liars, chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out-haters. I’ve seen them all and still had to hug their neck the next Sunday! And let us not forget the good ole hypocrites. Yes, they are there too. Where else would they be but in church?!
It would be a terrible shame to let people keep you from coming face to face with Jesus of Nazareth.
Don’t let a few busybodies keep you from your worship of the King.
(If you are one that has offended people, hurt them, caused them to leave the church, there is no excuse for this type of behavior in the church. God is not pleased.)
There are plenty of great churches that preach Truth. Go find one!
It’s worth it to be able to stand up in service with tears streaming down your face, hands raised in worship and actually feel the presence of Almighty God as you offer Him praise, just because He is worthy!
My friend, one day we will all stand before Him. It does not matter who you are, or your social status.
You will be there.
You won’t be late. We will all be there.
We will call Him Lord then, we will all call Him by Name.
For some, He will return the favor.
Others He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you…”
I wonder if they will be the ones that had Bibles in their homes but didn’t DO the CHURCH THING?