Should we define our faithfulness to God in terms of our attendance to worship? That’s often how we speak in terms of our faith and especially other peoples’ faith – “do they go to church?” Is that the point? When we stand before God, is He going to ask us about our batting average on worship attendance? We see from the scriptures that there is so much more to it than that. Notice these two scriptures.
21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?”
34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
When we place our focus on attending worship service we redefine faith and send a bad message, or the wrong the message. Is that what is truly most important to you? There’s other possible criteria. What about how often you pray? What about the depth of your prayers? What about how often you read your Bible? Those questions can also be used as matrices to gauge faithfulness.What if you we gauged ourselves on how often we read the Bible? Where would you be? Because it is blatant, obvious and not-intrusive we have, over the course of time, slanted or moved ourselves towards the understanding that our corporate worship is the center piece of our faith. It’s extremely important – vital even. But it’s not the center piece.
Some groups have placed other things at the center, like discipleship. But the only true center piece is Jesus Christ. He’s both the cause and affect. He’s the reason for our faith and what we get because of our faith. Because of His choice, we have a choice. And because of our choice we get to have Him stand up for us in front of God, because we can’t possibly stand alone. Perhaps we need to change the question we ask from “Is he faithfully attending worship,” to “Is he faithful living for Jesus?” The answer to that question will include worship and Bible study and prayer and discipleship and giving and . . .