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Why Do We Miss Church?
Whether they hold to the doctrine of the Christian Sabbath or not, Christians should universally believe in the significance and importance of attending church. Yet folks
skip miss church for all sorts of reasons—and most of them are bad reasons. One of the worst reasons Christians miss weekly worship is due to a vacation or travel schedule.
I believe that Christians should make every effort to schedule their lives around the Lord’s Day. Worshipping Christ in communion with the saints should be the focal point of your week…and everything else should fit in around that. If you follow that principle, you will never find yourself traveling all day Sunday and missing church or lounging on the beach when you should be gathering corporately. A mind set on being ready to meet with God on Sunday with the saints will take the necessary steps on Saturday to not be too tired for church, for example.
Let me exhort you to avoid this error in your practice for the following four reasons.
1. Go to church for the sake of your country.
I am writing from the USA. Do any of the readers here think that the problems in our country are caused by too many folks setting aside time on Sunday for the Lord? Does anyone believe that prioritizing church attendance would have an ill effect on the good ole US of A?
We are exhorted to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves” in Hebrews 10:24-25 as a way to provoke one another to love and good works. Since righteousness exalts a nation and sin is a reproach to any people, we can trust that a good small step in being a useful contributor to your nation’s righteousness is to leave behind any excuses and get to church each week, even if it is not your own.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
By visiting a church on vacation or prioritizing your own local church over getting to your destination, you are taking practical steps toward enjoying blessings of obedience from our great God and Savior. The effects of church attendance—even on the unregenerate—are overwhelmingly positive. Do your part!
2. Go to church for the sake of your kids!
Children learn more by watching their parents’ behavior than their parents’ words. When you skip church while on vacation, you are implicitly telling your child that God is not worth worshipping when you’re out of town or out of your routine. They are learning that church and the corporate gathering are just things we do when they fit into our schedule rather than things we prioritize.
You may have the love for God and strength in the flesh to not be pulled away by these periodic occurrences of forsaking the assembly of the saints, but your kids may not. They are weak and will be easily pulled away from godly things by the allure of the flesh. Set the example for your kids that you will find a church on vacation, and they will never forget that when they are older.
In a similar vein, you also positively influence your family when you prioritize church on vacation. Many people vacation with unsaved or even saved family who do not follow this precept. Your commitment and dedication to finding a place to worship on Sunday should convict saints and be an example to non-believers around you of the importance of Christ in your life.
3. Go to church for the sake of the church!
When you miss your local church assembly, your church suffers! You are a vital part of the Body of Christ and your gifts are necessary for the proper functioning of the body, specifically your local body. For you to work your schedule around your church’s meeting time sends a message that you believe what you are doing every week with your local church is important and that you love the people there. Do all you can to be a part of your local church. If you must travel for vacation or work, see if you can do it on Saturday and then spend Sunday visiting a local church at your destination. Even you non-Sabbatarians can see the benefit of that I trust :).
When you are out of town and you visit a church, you are singularly encouraging that group of saints to carry on. You are showing a group of people that you prioritize assembling. In the process, you may be providing the necessary rebuke someone at that church needs. Additionally, you encourage the pastors and faithful members of that church simply by showing up. Who doesn’t love to talk to the out-of-town guest at the fellowship meal or after the worship service? How many relationships have been built by people who dropped into a church and experience the fellowship of the Spirit?
I’ll toss in a quick story. I vacationed in Nashville recently with my adult son. We found a Reformed Baptist church to attend. While I was there I ran into a guy I had known on Facebook and through evangelism circles for over half a decade but had never met. We had great fellowship together that day. This would not have happened except that I prioritized corporate worship that day.
4. Go to church for the sake of the Lord.
Finally, and most importantly, gathering with the saints is a command of God. Whether you adhere to the Christian Sabbath or not, assembling with the faithful, hearing the Word read and preached, taking communion, praying, and singing songs to the Lord are well understood to be elements of a weekly gathering. We should go to a church and worship wherever we are because God has told us to do so and avoidance is indicative of a heart not consecrated to God (read the rest of Hebrews 10 after verse 25 to verse 31—that is specifically in the context of forsaking the assembling of the saints and ends with judgment).
But a challenge for you now, dear Christian, is this: do you need a command from God to worship Him? Is your love and devotion to God such that you require all sorts of extra motivation to prioritize going to church? Why is that? God’s commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3), and this means that you should already be motivated to gather with saints and worship God, even while vacationing. Even if weekly corporate worship were not a command, I think we should WANT to meet with fellow saints and spend time in worship. Our reticence to do so can only be explained by the unglorified flesh we inhabit. As glorified saints, we should find nothing more exciting than the worship of our Lord. You can have a taste of that now by not gratifying the desires of your flesh.
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”