Do we ever wonder how the Lord evaluates our attitudes and actions with respect to our attendance at the services of the church? When one of us is not present in the worship services, we are genuinely missed by those others who are present! These brethren certainly do wish that we were here with them! Do we ourselves think very often about what we miss when a worship service comes and goes and we choose not to take advantage of it? When our brethren see us missing services, do you think that they ever wonder if we have a truly legitimate reason for not being there, or if we have just made an excuse to put something else first? Or possibly it may be that being at that worship service is just not important enough for us to make the effort? These are indeed serious thoughts which come to the minds of those who are genuinely concerned about their brethren who spasmodically or regularly miss some of the services – and also about some who have just completely fallen away and never attend the services anymore.
I don’t think that there is any doubt that many of us truly believe that fellow Christians are concerned about their brethren who neglect attending the services which they need to be present for! But there is also a possibility that you and I are not showing enough concern in our calls, cards, or visits with these brethren in an effort to encourage them to be more motivated and dedicated to worship the Lord every time the door of the meeting house is open! We do truly miss them! We are well aware of the times that they are not there! We do genuinely love them, but are we really showing that affection and care by making the effort to talk with, encourage, and lift up those who are being careless or neglectful?
Some are too ill at times to attend services! That is a known and accepted fact! But when we announce that someone is not feeling well, does the thought ever come to mind that possibly that individual may be well enough to continue doing various chores around the home or maybe to prop up in the easy chair at home and watch TV while the services are going on? We are not doctors or nurses to know what every illness is, but we are well aware that “not feeling well” can cover a multitude of matters. We are not desirous of criticizing brethren who truly don’t feel well enough to be at services, but, at the same time, we are truly concerned about some who miss services because they are just “too tired”, or “too exhausted from the day’s work”, or have “had a difficult day” with family or with others. What we are sincerely asking is that each one of us genuinely evaluate our reason for being absent, and try to increase our motivation and desire to be present at all of the services.
We are concerned about those who can get out of bed every morning to go to school or to their jobs, but who fail in being able to get out of the bed on Sunday morning in time to make it to Bible study at 9:00 o’clock. Also, when the attendance from Sunday morning drops by nearly one-fourth or more on Sunday afternoon and almost by one-half at times on Wednesday night, it makes brethren really think and wonder about what the cause is for this decrease in attendance. Do each one of us think about that very often? Do we try to come up with solutions to improve our own attendance or that of some others? It would certainly be wonderful if the Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night attendance was relatively the same as Sunday morning, but historically we know that such is not what is happening. We also fully understand that some are just not able to drive after dark or might be afraid of experiencing a fall because they could not see where they are walking. Those are very legitimate concerns. We have pretty well attended to that with the 4:00 o’clock service on Sunday afternoon, but it still remains a difficulty for some on Wednesday night. We just want to remind anyone who might be in this situation that there are brethren who would be more than happy to provide transportation from your door to the lighted carport at the church building if you would like to attend that evening service. Please, please don’t hesitate to let that be known. It would be a great joy to “pick you up” and have you with us in that service! Your presence will certainly “pick up” our spirits!
Brethren, we are commanded to “consider one another to provoke unto love and good works” and are also admonished: “not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.” (Hebrews 10: 24-27). Some might feel that this is a “sensitive matter” which should be left to the discretion of each person, but to those of us who truly care about the spiritual growth and usefulness of our fellow Christians, it is a very serious matter. Will we all take a moment to ponder and soberly consider these words of encouragement, and take the time to look at ourselves in the light of what God has told us? Every soul is precious and we need to know that we are genuinely missed when we are not in attendance! And so we say, “We Certainly Wish That You Were Here!”
By Dennis L. Reed
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