Jump Start # 2001
Hebrews 10:25 “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
This verse has often been used to shame folks who skipped a service. This was not what was happening to the Hebrew brethren. Some had quit. They had given up altogether. They were done. Too much persecution, and too many hardships since they became Christians. Life wasn’t this way as Jews. Go back and simply be a Jew and life would be better. This is what they thought. This is the “habit” of those who were forsaking the assembling.
But I want to spin this around. Many of us have been in the habit of assembling for a long, long time. We are always there. Rain, snow, holidays, we never miss. Even when we are out of town, we find a place to worship. It is so engrained into our spiritual DNA that it just wouldn’t be us to not worship with the saints three times a week. We do so, not out of habit, but out of love. It has become a habit, but in a good sense. Our schedules are built around the times we will be at services. We’ll turn down chances to go to shows, concerts and community events, because they conflict with worshipping with God’s family. It has become a priority for us. It’s hard to understand why others don’t do the same.
Years and years of this worshipping weekly, what has it accomplished? What has it done for you? Have you ever given any thought to that?
First, it has kept us close to the Lord. It’s taken our minds to a spiritual depth many times. We’ve become a people who pray and pray often. We have learned hymns and can sing them by memory and often do. We have come to know the Lord. We understand Him. We love Him. Years and years of praising and listening to His word being taught has brought us close to the Lord.
Second, it has given us a greater spiritual depth. We know the Bible. We understand the Bible. We get how it is laid out in our English translations. We know the theme of it. We know the stories. We know the Lord. The Bible has become a dear, dear companion of ours. Many of us can turn to certain books in our Bible without even looking. Our Bibles are marked with notes. There are words that are underlined and circled. We have taped things and written things on the blank pages in the back. All of this has given us a spiritual confidence that now shapes our decisions, attitudes and words. We are a better people because of that.
Third, we have come to know and love our church family. For many of us, we see our church family more than we do our physical family. We understand each other and have a precious memories of things we have done together. Friendships that run deep have been forged from these relationships with our church family. We have shared our victories and our defeats with one another. We have laughed and cried together. We know each other’s children and grandchildren. We’ve been to weddings together and we have sat together at funerals. Years and years of worshipping together has bonded our hearts. We couldn’t think of anyone else that we’d rather be with, than our church family.
Fourth, years and years of worshipping has given us a great appreciation for the plan and will of God. There are reasons God tells us to do what we are to do. There is a purpose to the Bible. Worshipping God’s way has given us a great respect for God’s pattern. We are not only accustomed to these things we see that they are right. We can now easily recognize things that are not right. We frown in displeasure at those who do not respect the word of God. There are those who are never satisfied with God’s way and are always wanting to change things. Often the changes are not Biblical, helpful, nor necessary. We recognize the selfish and carnal motives behind many of these changes. It’s simply not right. So, we turn aside from them and continue to walk with the Lord and His people.
Fifth, worshipping year after year has opened our eyes to the many times God has answered prayers, supplied growth and mended broken hearts. We’ve prayed with the rest of our church for those who had serious problems. We’ve seen those problems conquered and we recognize God’s hand in all of this. These things have encouraged us and helped us to realize that God is good and that He is among us.
Sixth, worshipping year after year has thrilled our hearts even more to be with God. Death is nothing to be feared. It’s the passage way to be with God. What lies ahead is so amazing for all of us. Worship has reminded us of these things. It has strengthened our resolve to continue on, even when it has been hard. We have seen that in our own lives. After funerals, we are among God’s people in worship. Sometimes the tears come. After struggles, such as the loss of jobs, feeling lonely because the kids have moved away, the process of aging, we are still among God’s people, worshipping. I see some walking in slowly with canes and walkers, realizing these people once assembled with babies in their arms. Now, years later, they are moving slowly, yet they are still moving with the Lord. Amazing!
Worship has been good for us. It has put Jesus before our eyes. It has reminded us that we are not alone. It has shown us opportunities to serve others. It has changed our attitudes, our behavior and even our will. We understand that we are the people of God. What an honor that is. What a blessing to worship.
Worship has been good to us!