by Molly Audiss
What kind of a cryer are you? There are many different types of cryers in this world. I can tell you one thing about myself, once I start crying, it’s all over….but the crying! I just cry and cry until my eyes decide to shut down the water works on their own. This quirk about me is not convenient, and it’s sometime downright embarrassing. My family is used to me, though. 🙂
Tonight was the start of our annual missions conference. My husband and I love this week of the year! We were sitting about ten rows back from the front, and we had just stood to sing some songs as a congregation when I spotted Mrs. Collins three rows ahead of me. I love Mrs. Collins. There she was, standing with friends, song book open, singing and looking just as pretty as ever. Which is amazing because, just one week ago, Mrs. Collins suddenly lost her husband to a brain hemorrhage. Bro. Paul Collins was a church employee two weeks ago, but tonight he is with Jesus. He and his wife always sat together in front of us in church. But Mrs. Collins sat there tonight without her husband. And it broke my heart. Again. I started to cry.
As I was standing there with my family, crying and singing, I looked up on the platform and saw the missionary who was going to preach the message. He is a great man of God who has served overseas for many years. He had his own tears in his eyes. I quickly realized that he was moved by the words of the song we were singing, and, as I became focused on the powerful message in the song, I cried even more! I just felt love for the Lord and gratitude that He would allow me to serve Him and be surrounded by my family and so many Christian friends.
Do you see where I am headed here? Being at church is not simply a “requirement” that we mentally check off as a “duty” of a Christian. We come to hear God’s Word preached, but there is SO MUCH MORE about going to church than that! We go to be an encouragement to others, and to be encouraged by them.
I look around and see the man in the wheelchair, and I pray for him. I see the forsaken wife, sitting alone, and I pray for her. I make a mental note to talk to her after the service and plan a time to get coffee together. I see those who have lost loved ones and I hurt with them, right there in my seat.
I thank God as I look down the row at my own sons. Soon enough they will be grown and off living their own lives, but tonight they are sitting with me, and I am thankful.
I give offerings at church. Often a need will be mentioned at church, and we have the opportunity to help with that need. I signed up for our Ladies Conference after the service. I picked up a stack of tracts to hand out throughout the week. I picked up flyers for a special day that I can share with my neighbors this week. I saw 2 young grandchildren of a friend of mine visiting today, and I searched through my purse for something small I could give them.
I talk with friends and my kids connect with their friends. I see my parents, and I am so thankful to have them in my life and at my church.
What I am saying is this— church attendance was a beautiful idea from a loving God, who knew how much we would need each other. Being at church is 1000x more than being fed from God’s Word. It is that, thank God, AND SO MUCH MORE! I praise the Lord through singing, I talk to Him throughout the service, as I notice those who need prayer. I bring God my tithe. I listen with a smile to my pastor to encourage him, and I often find my pastor’s wife to encourage her with a hug.
We all spent months at home last year and were unable to meet together. I am so thankful for online services! But, ladies, it wasn’t the same. We need to go to every service our church holds, when possible to be there. We need each other! We are the church. Let’s plan to show up whenever services are being held, and let’s plan to be there all the way, in our minds, body, and spirit! What a gift to be a part of the body of Christ!
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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.”