I would like to challenge that thought process for a moment. Church, the body of Christ IS important! If it wasn’t Christ would not have said in Hebrews 10:25, “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.” Have you taken a look around you lately? My friends, we are in the last days!
According to research done I should be a statistic. I shouldn’t be where I am today living the life I am. Instead I should be angry, rebellious, “living it up”, have nothing to do with God and blaming my parents for the life I had growing up. But I’m not. That is just how amazing grace really is!
My growing up years were not filled with lavish memories of joyous times together. I remember going to church and wishing that my family could be like so many others I saw. They seemed practically perfect in my childish mind. Anything would be better than where the Lord chose to place me, I would often think.
As my family went to church week after week we were the “different” family. You know the kind, all five of us kids wore hand-me-down or homemade clothing. We had hardly any money, our home was quite humble, and it was anything but peaceful. However, even though friends were hard to come by, my Sunday school teachers and youth workers made me feel so loved! I looked forward to going to church just to see them!
I don’t often think back to life when I was a child, but for some reason those thoughts of the past have been in the forefront of my mind lately. I remember one year my dad had left our family and when he did he drove off in our one and only car. Leaving my mom with five children, alone and with no way to get anywhere. Every Sunday and Wednesday though my mother would have all five of us dressed for church and she made us walk to church. It really was humiliating at the time as we made the trek in our Sunday best and other families from our church would pass us in their cars on their way. I was in upper elementary at the time and their opinion really mattered to me….. I could just imagine their conversations, “There they go again…. the odd family.”
However, now that I am an adult I look back and applaud my mother for doing that. She was bound and determined that she was going to have her children in church no matter what! That was not an easy time for her either, but she certainly was right to march her little ducklings to church. Each time we arrived at church I would be on the look out for my Sunday school teachers and they never made me feel less important because of the hand-me-downs or the lack of my father present. No, they extended a sweet love that really only ones with the love of Christ already in them could give.
God used those Sunday school teachers greatly in my life. As a young teenager I began to straddle the fence, part of me wanted to rebel and part of me did not. I had a youth pastor that the Lord had placed in my life though that refused to give up on my hardening heart. Every time he would pray with me he would say, “Break her heart Lord”, which used to make me very upset! But one day, He did just that. It no longer mattered what was going on in my home, I was going to not give in and rebel. I was going to live in the freedom of God’s amazing grace!
The Lord took my life, a life that had been hurt deeply, broken, wounded and has been shaping my life into something He deems beautiful. He allowed me to graduate from a Christian high school and took me on to a Christian college. He brought a man into my life that is more than I could have ever dreamed a husband to be. He has been so patient and loving. My view of what marriage was, was so distorted but my husband has loved me and taught me so much about how beautiful marriage can be! Yes, God’s grace is amazing!
He has placed this once broken vessel on His potter’s wheel and has continued to mold me, using His own children, the body of Christ, to point me back to Him. He used the people in His church to help keep me from becoming a statistic and I am eternally grateful to Him for that.
Our children are watching. Our children have been gifted to us by God Almighty Himself! He has entrusted you and I to raise our children up in the way they should go. Part of that raising involves being in church and surrounding our children with the teachings of Christ in His house! Our children are well aware of how important church is or is not to us. They know if we are hypocrites. When I look back on that time in my life where my mom made us walk to church because we had no vehicle, that taught me just how important church, God, doing right, was to her. It left an impression on my heart! Those Sunday school teachers and youth workers left an impression on my heart! They were used of God to help keep me on the path I needed to be on.
Yes, faithfulness to church is utterly important! If it were not for my mom having me in church even in the midst of a very difficult time in life, I would not be where I am today because those people that were supposed to help me stay on the right path would not have been there to cheer me on if I was not in church! I can promise you I would be a bitter and hardened woman today were it not for God’s grace and Him using the body of Christ to point me to Him.
It is by God’s grace that I am here today, joyful and complete in Him! Thank God for His grace and for His CHURCH!