The Grange Fair, not far from our church, has been a longstanding local tradition for decades. It boasts itself as the largest fair encampment in the nation with hundreds of families packing up and setting up tents for the ten days or so for the fair. There are shows, rides, exhibits and deep fried foods of about every shape and form you can think of to clog your arteries ! It’s a time for the families to kick back from the usual routines of life and enjoy conversing with friends and families. Several families through our years here have said, “Stop by our tent for a visit !”
I can see the appeal, who wouldn’t want to just pull up stakes from your normal life and just chill for a week or so, not too many people I know disdain a good vacation ! But more than this it seems to be a real good time for renewing and strengthening ties with folks. Not unlike what God intends in your church. Like most churches, we get a rush of people who come out to our morning service who don’t make it earlier to Sunday School nor come to the Midweek service. They and we are missing out on God’s best. Typically I tell our folks at church there are basically three reasons to miss your church’s services: (1) sickness – who wants to get what you have ! (2) work – where you just cannot avoid working during a service time & (3) an emergency.
While we love those who choose to attend just the morning service and are grateful for them, we also pray they will make God’s house a greater priority in their thinking. And that that priority will truly be born out of the realization that God sacrificed His very life for us all, so what’s an extra hour or two in my week for Him? !! Some of us are “sold” on being faithful to Him this way , we see the logic, we have made the choice to submit to Him in this but what are you doing to encourage others to the same? There is so much to be gained by ministering to folks to prod them to greater heights in their faith and building up your church (which includes those less faithful to the services).
I wholeheartedly agree with the writer of Hebrews when he wrote that prominent verse, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (10:25). The original renders the start of this, “Stop forsaking the assembling. . . .” So they had unfaithful in their congregations too, but the urging here was not for them or us to think of ourselves as better but to prod each other along to greater spiritual heights and “tent” with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ as much as is possible ! So before Sunday, why not invite someone to Sunday School, or at some point on Sunday while you are in church challenge them to come to the midweek service. Sometimes that’s all it takes for someone to make another step in their spiritual journey as someone helped you to get to where you are too !