Why Gather to Worship with God's People on Time?
I have been praying over some struggles that we in America seem to have with attending worship with God’s people. Two issues that stands out to me are being on time and being prepared to worship “with” His people. The issues are deeper than just showing up on time. As with everything, it is always about our hearts and what we really value.
"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil…" Luke 6:45
Here is what I see in my own life and in those who have a prepared heart and excited to worship with His people.
First, there is a reverence for God in a heart that desires to express worship and honor His name. To reverence Him above all others would mean that He is a treasured priority. Let’s ask ourselves, is He a priority in our devotion and worship? Does this priority show in how we approach Sundays and other gathered times with His people? Would we be constantly late for work? school? to meet someone important like a relative or the President? someone we value?
Second, when we meet, what does our participation in public worship demonstrate to others? Are we desiring to give a Godly testimony with those who are with us when we gather? Does our attendance and being on time matter in what we communicate to others about God’s worth? You bet it does. Our timeliness and coming in with a heart of praise, or even repentance, declares He is worth us getting up a little earlier. He is valuable enough for us to be prepared on Saturday by picking out the children’s clothes in advance. He is worth us spending some time in prayer before going to be with His people to express publicly our praise and thanksgiving as we enter with His people before Him.
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name." Psalm 100:4
Third, What about coming to church ten minutes early to prepare one's heart, pray, and sing with the pre-service songs? Think about the encouragement you would be giving our children’s ministry area when we show up on time so they can start on time without interruptions. Think about praying for individuals sitting around you, for our church, for our community, for our nation and for our world.
Finally, focusing on His worth and the worth of His Bride, His cherished and bought people would hopefully lead us to want to enhance the worship of others and not to distract their worship. To come in late, go across an isle of seats while someone has their eyes closed and praising God is more than distracting; it breaks an individual’s focus on God and His glory. Therefore, it hurts His Name and the individual’s transformation into Christ-likeness.
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." 2 Cor. 3:18
This is serious stuff.
I am praying for my own heart. Hope you will do the same to be sensitive to these issues. Even more, I pray our worship will honor Him and encourage others.
I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. Psalm 22:22