We live in a world where it is easy to be surrounded by Christian teachings and influences. We can turn on Christian radio to hear the truths of the Gospel sung. We can read a Christian book where we can learn with others how to faithfully live for Jesus. We can download the latest podcast to hear the world’s greatest preachers with a few clicks of our fingers. Yet in this world of easy access Christianity, it is easy for us to substitute all these Christian activities for the local church.
In addressing the church of religious Jewish Christians, the author of the epistle to the Hebrews reminded the Christians of that day a truth that we need to also remember in our day:
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” The church had forsaken gathering together as a Christian community in the local church in favor of other activities. It is easy for us to make the justification that gathering with the church is not necessary as long as our family is plugged into other Christian things and positive activities.
We choose to “neglect.” Neglecting is easy because the church’s schedule so often does not fit in the travel ball schedules of our kids or the other family activities. Neglecting is easy because sometimes church can be messy and a solo faith with Jesus seems much more comfortable. Neglecting is easy because it is easy to minimize my struggles to others instead of seeking to grow in grace through Christian community. Though neglecting is the easy and comfortable path, true Christian growth is experienced for both you and your family in the local church. As the author of Hebrews encourages us, the church is where you will be encouraged to more faithfully love and serve others, where you will find encouragement in times of struggle and doubt and where you will be reminded of eternal priorities.
In a world where many things push for priority in our lives, let us make sure we do not miss the two things that will go into eternity with us: our relationship with Jesus and our relationships with others. Church can be hard, but church is where you were made to be.
-Dr. Ben Birdsong
Minister of Students, Meadow Brook Baptist