Missing May Be Dangerous To Other’s Health
by Richard Barnes
The Hebrew writer tells us in chapter 10 and verse 25 that we should “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together”(KJV). The ESV renders this statement as “not neglecting to meet together”.
Certainly, we understand the benefits that we individually receive when we come together with our brothers and sisters in Christ to worship but occasionally you will hear someone say that “I just don’t get anything out of the worship service” or “I don’t see the benefit of me being at worship services”.
While it is common to want something for ourselves when we put forth some type of effort, it is clear the Hebrew writer encourages us to consider others when thinking about our attendance at worship services. The inspired Word says that our attendance is one way that we are considerate of others. Our coming together to worship should not be about ourselves and how we can be benefited but how we can benefit others.
The objective of our attendance is not only to worship God but to “provoke”(KJV) or “stir up”(ESV) our fellow brethren. Usually, these two words are used in negative connotations but the inspired writer uses these words in a positive sense as it relates to our presence at the assembly and the affect that we have on others. The desired effect of our attendance is to promote others to love each other and our fellow man more and to spur good works in the name of Christ.
It also appears that missing worship services was a problem in the first century because we are told that “some have a habit of this”(ESV). We are told that our attendance is an exhortation or an encouragement. During the time of this writing in the first century, Christians were being persecuted because of their commitment to Christ. Their very presence in the worship services was a bold statement that their love for Christ would not be weakened or deterred because of impending punishment from the authorities.
So the next time the thought crosses your mind to intentionally miss a worship service, think about your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Think about what your absence means to those who may be struggling spiritually. Always remember, we are here to help each other along as we serve the Lord. Let us be committed to do all that we can to be an encouragement to our fellow saints while being ever mindful of the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.