And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
During the 1600s, a French bishop named Francois Fenelon served King Louis XIV as the court preacher. One Sunday, the king and his attendants showed up for services and found that no one but Fenelon was there. Louis was visibly angry and demanded to know why the chapel was empty. The bishop replied, “I published in the royal register that you wouldn’t be attending church today in order that your Majesty might see for himself who serves God in truth, and who comes merely to impress the king.”
People go to church for all sorts of reasons. These days, it seems like most people go to church rarely or not at all. Willow Creek Community Church is located near Chicago and is one of the largest churches in the country. They once did a door-to-door survey of people in their area, and one of the questions they asked was, “If you don’t go to church, why not?” Here are the top five reasons people said they stayed home:
- Church is boring.
- It doesn’t make a difference in my life.
- They ask for money all the time.
- I’m too busy and don’t have time.
- I feel awkward and out of place.
That’s a sad statement about what God says is essential for Christians. The worst item on the list above, frankly, is the part about being too busy. It’s understandable that those who aren’t Christians feel like they don’t have time for God, but too many Christians also feel they don’t have time for church.
Church is supposed to be the place where we get our spiritual batteries charged. Today’s scripture says that the early Christians “devoted themselves” to gathering together for study, Communion and prayer. And it should be a welcoming place where people who are “experienced” reach out in love to greet those who are looking for a place to worship.
If you’ve been finding yourself “too busy” for church, make a plan next Sunday to work God into your schedule. Find a church near you and spend your morning worshiping the Lord with other Christians. And if you’re already part of a church, make sure you reach out to someone new next Sunday and make them feel welcome during and after the service.
Reflection copyright © 2017 Doug DeBolt
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.