Some Sunday mornings I look across the congregation and see many empty pews. It’s summer and many are traveling. I could get a little down because summer numbers are down, or I could realize that those few hours on Sunday morning are not the mainstay of the church.
They are important, very important. We are counseled not to stop gathering together. Corporate worship is very important, but the other hundred and sixty-something hours that comprise the rest of the week are just as important. These hours are where the bulk of our living sacrifice will take place.
Some are on long trips. Some are camping. Some are visiting loved ones and perhaps gathered with them in some other worship service. Some have gone out of the country, but are they living for God when they are not sitting in the pews?
Are we fulfilling our commission as we venture away from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth?
Only those who are away can answer that question, but here are some indicators. The last time that you were away from worship in your home church…
Did you take any gospels with you? There is always a stack for the taking by the exit and the pastor has dared you to give away more than he has.
Did you take and GOD LOVES YOU – LOVE ONE ANOTHER wristbands with you? They are a great conversation starter with people in this state and in others or even overseas.
Did you remember that the Holy Spirit lives within you and you just have to take the first step? Sometimes that wristband gets the conversation started. Next thing you know you are talking about God’s love, then Jesus, then how we know God’s love through Jesus.
Sometimes you are standing in line at some fast-food restaurant and some kid is screaming his lungs out. Instinctively, out comes a wristband followed by a much needed moment of silence and then a conversation with mom or dad or both.
Some Sundays I am a little down because nobody has picked up any gospels or wristbands or asked for prayers that God will place people in their paths while they travel—people who need to hear the good news or just need a little encouragement.
It’s not so much that people missed Sunday morning. It’s that they missed an opportunity to prepare for their travels.
It’s not so much that there are empty seats in the congregation. It’s that there are empty spots in the hearts of believers who head out into the world and taking the good news with them is not on their mind. It is not proceeding from their hearts.
But what can I do?
I can challenge and encourage believers to go into the world ready to share good news.
I can continue to provide basic logistics for these would-be missionaries.
I can pray that God’s heart overcomes their hearts and each believer desires that none perish so much, that the good news cannot be contained within them.
It’s one thing to look at an empty pew and know who usually sits there and think, I hope they are getting some well-deserved rest or enjoying their visit.
It’s another thing to look at an empty pew and know, They’re on a mission from God!
Be on that mission from God wherever you go.
Be the church every moment of every day, whether you gather in the assembly that you call home or you are taking the good news to the end of the earth.
Be the church whether home or away.
Be the church!