A CLOSER WALK
by Pastor Bill Meadows
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25)..
Have you ever wondered what motivates people to attend church when they were young people? Take it from any old hand, the reasons are numerous, and sometimes bizarre.
Now, if you lived in the South or parts of the Midwest, social standing might be determined by which church you attend. In West Virginia where I live the region is called the Bible Belt.
How about joining a large church to network for your business? It could happen. But before you judge too harshly, consider that when you’re looking for a future husband or a wife, networking in church isn’t a bad place to start, at least you’re likely to find people with the same value system.
Guilt? Fear? Those are motivators sometimes, but not ones that impress God who at his very core oozes love. Love is on a different plane from fear and guilt
Our children also bring us back to church. We feel the awesome responsibility of molding and shaping their our lives to be happy and have a knowledge of God,. We know they won’t develop a strong moral core from the society around them. It didn’t work for us, did it? And so we bring them to God’s house, and come along with them, sometimes for the first time since our own childhood. And as our children learn about Jesus, as we experience a wonderful renewal of our faith, I’ve seen that happen time after time.
Friendship brings us to church, too. Sometimes, literally, we are invited by friends and come with them. But often it’s the desire for friends and come with them. But often it’s the desire for the friends to bring us to church in hope. God knows, loneliness can eat at our sense of well-being. Being new in a community often accentuates that longing to love and be loved. And this is as a relationship, to be a community in every sense of the word
A Personal growth is a great factor. Gradually we allow our smokescreens to blow away. Men sometimes decide to grow up and get past when once-upon-a-time they saw a hypocrite in church. (Have you seen an actual hypocrite? Wow!) They move beyond resentments at having to attend church as a child. (They didn’t stop enjoying dinner because their parents insisted they eat their supper, did they?) We learn about ourselves, we grow past childish rebellions, we grow up, and we’re freed once again to include God in our personal exploration.
Finally, people attend church in order to come to know God, to honor him through worship and by their very presence in his house. The French philosopher Blaise Pascal put it succinctly. “There’s a God shaped vacuum in every man that only God can fill.” You and I have felt that emptiness. We’ve wondered at times if we’ve lost forever that most important link of faith that shapes who we are and who we can become. People come to church because they are searching and they find they can search for God in this context better than others. ”Our hearts are restless,” Augustine “until we find our rest in You.”
That’s pretty much the list. Some motives are better, some worse, but in one sense it doesn’t matter much of your motivation. So I invite you to attend church this weekend. For whatever reason; come. It just may be God’s will meet you, too.
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