Some years ago on the front page of The Tennessean was the story of Alline Nankivell (91) of east Nashville, Tennessee. It was not a story about how the elderly help the needy or of some great thing she had accomplished in advanced years. Sadly it was the story of her murder.
How many services would you have to miss before others would come looking for you? In the paper much was written about how she trusted people. She had been robbed and beaten several times but she continued to have a basic trust in others. In a society such as we live in it is difficult to put trust in strangers, but Nankivell always tried to see the good in others. There is a basic lesson in this aspect of her life for each of us.
Another point in the article struck me with even greater force. It is found in the following paragraph of the article:
“Yesterday, when she did not show up at church, neighbors found the blood-caked body of Nankivell lying face-up across the bed in the 2000 Eastland Avenue home. Police said she appeared to have been beaten to death.”
Later in the article it is pointed out she was a member of the Chapel Avenue Church of Christ.
The amazing thing to me about this story is the fact her friends were caused to check on her simply because she missed one worship service. This could mean one of two things. She could have been so faithful in here attendance of the services that everyone knew something had to be wrong if she wasn’t there. She may have been such a fixture and force in the congregation and its services that her absence stood out like a sore thumb. A question: What if you had been the victim of this crime? How many services would you have to miss before others would come looking for you? Are you so irregular in your attendance that others would just assume you decided to sleep in or do other things? Can you honestly classify yourself as a faithful, regular worshiper?
On the other hand we may assume the people of the congregation were so concerned for the souls of others that when anyone, regardless of how regular or irregular they were in attending the services of the church, missed a single service they would go to check on them. When some of our number are missing, do we check on them as we should? It may be a brief comment will cause them to do better in the future.
I don’t know the situation in the Nankivell story, but I would like to see more men and women to be faithful, regular worshipers and brethren who are so concerned for the souls of men that they will check on everyone not present.
Brethren need to read Hebrews 10:22-25 more often. We cannot draw near to God, hold fast the confession of our hope, or consider our brethren to provoke them unto love and good works if we forsake the assembling of the brethren together.
How regular are you in attending the services of the saints? Would you be missed if you were absent for just one service?
By Alex D. Ogden
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