We’ll be celebrating the birth of our nation in a couple of weeks. The Independence Day holiday weekend will bring a four day weekend for many, giving them time to have a short vacation. Unfortunately, for many it will also be a vacation from church attendance. We see this during many of our holidays as they fall close to a weekend.
This past Christmas was a telling of the tale about our priorities, as December 25th fell on a Sunday. For many churches, it created quite a dilemma as they tried to plan for what their attendance level would be. Would more of their congregation, as well as visitors, be attending? Would anyone even show up? It was interesting to see how different churches handled the situation. Some had more elaborate services, others shortened them, and others cancelled services all together.
It’s understandable that folks need time to relax and unwind. Vacations and holidays are important to our mental health. But what are we to do about worship? Is it okay to miss a Sunday now and then? Our human side can do all the coercing and justifying it can, but as Christians, we are obligated to go to God for direction.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, we have made worship a once-a-week thing. We set aside an hour or so each Sunday morning, declaring that we will worship together. But that wasn’t the way God designed it to be. As you read through the Old Testament, or Tanakh, the first time we read of worship being designated on the Sabbath is in Ezekiel 46:3, where he says, “On the Sabbaths and New Moons the people of the land are to worship in the presence of the LORD at the entrance of that gateway.” Prior to that, we see the Lord being worshipped daily, with sacrifices being made daily, as well. Corporate worship is important to God, and as the Jews reunited in Ezekiel’s days, it sets the importance for all, establishing these rules as the second temple was dedicated to God.
As the Church of Christ was established after His death and resurrection, we see that all still gathered on the Sabbath to worship God, but the believers in Christ took it one step further, gathering on the first day of the week. Over time, this became the day of corporate worship for Christian believers.
So, does God care about what day we worship Him? That answer is actually very simple. God expects us to worship Him every day. Our worship of Him is critical to our spiritual health, and joining together in fellowship is a big part of this. It then becomes a matter of priorities in our lives. We must set these priorities just as we do everything else in our lives, such as our families, our work, and our personal time.
To illustrate this, Jesus gave us the parable of the four soils in Matthew 13:1-9. In verse 7, Jesus said, “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.” As we read this verse, we have to ask ourselves what is choking out our growth. What have we put in our lives that are thorns? When you begin to see these things that keep you from worship as thorns, you begin to get a better sense of what they do to our lives. If you’ve ever been stuck by a thorn, you understand. They are sharp, and no matter how lightly you touch them, it hurts.
As you think through this, recommit to eliminating these thorns that prevent your worship, both daily and weekly. God wants you to make Him the priority in your life.