There was a day when we went to church because our parents forced us to do so. We dressed up, stood up, sat down, endured the long prayers and sermon, and couldn’t wait for the service to be over in order that we might head to the Sunday buffet and enjoy watching our afternoon football games.
Then, as we went through some of our more legalistic days, we learned to attend the worship of God in order that he might not spank us. Because it was important to the Lord that we attend, and because we desperately wanted him to bless us in our endeavors throughout the following week, we dutifully went to the Lord’s house for Sunday morning worship, Sunday school, choir practice, youth group, Sunday evening worship, and the midweek prayer meeting. In our eyes, because God was keeping attendance records, and we were sure that he blessed us based upon our religious attendance, we were determined to be there every time the church doors were opened.
Later in life, we went to church because we had children and we wanted them to develop their own good habits. In our own hearts, we felt we could do without our weekly spiritual feeding, but our children, well that was another story.
Now today, many of us go to worship merely out of habit. We have done it for so long; what else are we going to do?
Some attend today because we have a Sunday duty to perform. Somehow, our names were put on another ministry list and we must pass out bulletins, make coffee, or teach a class.
And then there is our reputation and image. We know people are watching and talking.
Oh friends, what are we thinking? Where is our head and our heart?
Listen afresh to the inspired Psalmist as he encourages us to ascend the hill of the Lord in the proper manner:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100)
Going to worship is supposed to be a joyful experience. So joyful is it to be, that we are expected to make glad noises. It is fitting that there be loud, festive music — almost like a reverential party for a monarch.
Today, we will encounter God, and this Almighty God is our friend. We belong to him, and he belongs to us. He is so good. He is so loving. He is so, so faithful. We are to be filled with thanksgiving. Oh friends, it is the Lord’s Day. What are we doing?
Is today a day of celebration?
Is it a Christian holiday?
Today, are you going to church because you must, or are you headed to the house of God because you wouldn’t miss it for a moment?
Our motivations and emotions express that which seems true in our hearts.
Let’s adjust our thinking.
Let’s pray that God adjusts our hearts.
Let’s go to church, but let’s do it for the right reasons. It is time again to holiday with our Heavenly Father in his holy and happy house.