Life is busy. We live at a frantic pace, trying to squeeze every last drop of opportunity from each day. The opportunities we pursue are varied–work, leisure, time with family, watching a movie–but the one constant is that we continually try to cram as much as we can into each day. Occasionally, though usually in some regular pattern, we put to much into a given day or week. When that moment comes, something has to give, something has to go. Here’s my question: in your life, what’s the first thing to go?
If you are anything like me you probably start with the things that you believe are necessary. You can’t just skip work for a week or neglect your family a few days, you can’t cut out sleep or eating, so all those things are safely in your routine. Everyone’s ‘necessary’ list looks different, but in our minds we’re all thinking the same thing; “These are the things I have to do.” Some things we have to do because we need them to live, and some things we have to do because we are held accountable to do them.
Yet in the midst of a busy life, there is one activity that gives many people the wiggle room they are looking for–church. Taking the time to be with other Christians, be it corporate worship or a small group, occupies a place in our calendars that is easy for us to nix. When life gets busy you can always take a break from church and stay at home. After all, going to church doesn’t put food on the table, and no one’s going to fire you from church. Church simply doesn’t make our necessary list. I believe there’s something wrong with that.
I know what you’re thinking; “That’s what I expect a pastor to say.” But my point is simple and builds off last weeks sermon. God doesn’t tell us to gather as the church because he needs it, he tells us to gather as the church because we need it. We need to seek God in community. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way:
Christians need other Christians who speak God’s Word to them. They need them again and again when they become uncertain and disheartened because, living by their own resources, they cannot help themselves without cheating themselves out of the truth. They need other Christians as bearers and proclaimers of the divine word of salvation. They need them solely for the sake of Jesus Christ (Life Together).
I want to challenge you to rethink church. You don’t need a show or pep-rally on Sunday. And you don’t need to take a break from the church so you can rest and recharge. You need your Christian brothers and sisters to speak the Word of God into your life. You need biblical community! I pray that church won’t be the first thing to go. It may be hard to cut something else, but there’s no doubt that gathering as the church should be on our necessary list.