“I had a long week of work.”
“We had a busy weekend and I wanted the kids to be rested for school on Monday.”
“We did yard work all day Saturday and I was just worn out.”
The more time goes by, the more I hear statements like this from Christians who are absent on Sundays. I understand that life can get busy and some folks work hours that put the rest of us to shame at times. But “I’m tired” simply can’t be an excuse for missing worship.
(Before the “What about…” rebuttals start, realize I’m not talking to people fighting sicknesses, diseases, or pains which make it nearly impossible to get out of bed, get dressed, and make the trip to the building some Sundays.)
I haven’t always been great about giving the benefit of the doubt, but it’s important that we start there. In this article let’s work from the assumption that most just don’t know better. I’m sure some do know better and are making a conscious choice, but I’m equally sure that many don’t. We have to accept the fact that we live in a different time and are now at least 2 generations removed from the days where church folks knew from before they could talk that Sunday morning meant being with the church.
With that assumption in mind, I don’t want to come down too hard on people for not doing something they were never taught to do. On the other hand, if they don’t know, it’s important that they be taught. The ignorance excuse can only be given so long.
Each Christian needs to know that the church’s assembly on Sunday must be the one thing the rest of our week revolves around. When the Christian plans out their calendar for the week, worshiping God with the church on Sunday must be the first thing that gets penned in, and nothing short of an emergency or a sickness should be allowed to move it. Even when on vacation, finding a congregation and worshiping with them must be prioritized.
3 reasons why:
- God deserves it. Read the Psalms and see the way praise pours out of David and the other psalmists. Our reliance on God should be so constant and so prominent in our lives that gathering with our family to worship Him the one day a week He’s asked for it is something we can’t help but do.
- We prioritize what’s important. Nobody spends Monday absent from work and explains it away by telling their boss “I was tired from a long weekend.” Nobody has to be forced to wake up at 4 a.m. for their vacation or hunting excursion. Yet if something in life was going to have to take a back seat to give more time and energy for something else, why on earth would Jesus – the one who left heaven to live a life of poverty and die for us – be the one who gets forced to take a back seat?
- Your church family needs you. Sometimes when I call to check on people they immediately begin to apologize to me and make excuses for not being there. Understand that when you receive a call from your preacher, elder, or another fellow Christian after missing a Sunday, it’s not to chastise you for not fulfilling a duty. It’s much more akin to one sibling call another when the latter missed a scheduled family meal. You have something to add to the church (Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 12, etc.) and we need you.
There are a million things that threaten to keep us from worshiping God, fellowshipping with our church family, encouraging each other, and studying the Word together each week. The only way to keep ourselves from being pulled away is to put God and His church first and refuse to let anything move them.