The church and six strong men
A newspaper ad displayed a photograph of six men carrying a coffin through the doors of a church. The caption read: “Will it take six strong men to bring you back?”
The ad made me feel uncomfortable, but the question was a good one. A study published in 2005 by C. Kirk Hadaway and Penny Long Marler shows the number of people worshipping each week is 17.7 percent.
Do people still believe in God?
While the majority of Americans say, “yes,” most no longer attend church. Why? There are many reasons: I’m busy — children, job, chores, I don›t have time; It›s boring — I›d rather watch paint dry; hypocrisy — you may look holy on Sunday but I’ve seen you on Monday; relevance — you don’t even try to understand my problems; issues — divorce, homosexuality, abortion — no love, only judgment; media — I learn more from TV or Facebook; money — you want me to sit in the pew and write a check; status — I don’t belong, I’m not worthy.
For years, I too believed in God — but come Sunday morning? I worked six days a — I wanted to sleep in. I felt no pressing need to attend church.
Obviously, my attitude changed. In the midst of my change I received valuable lessons: Attending church deepened my connection with God and guided me through the other six days of the week. I discovered a a reason for living that impacted my life.
Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker and author, described the benefits of attending church: Longer life — insurance studies show regular church attendance adds 5.7 years to life; wealth — the Bible provides answers about money but and a new perspective; peace — there›s peace of mind knowing God will always be there; purpose — it›s exciting to know God has a special plan for your life; courage — God give you strength to make moral stands; love — loving others as God loves you is a source of comfort; forgiveness —forgiving yourself and others literally heals body and soul.
What a picnic basket full of promises! When my attitude I couldn’t wait for Sunday.
The Bible says it best: Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near (Hebrews 10:23-25).
If you’ve not been to church in a while — come back. We’ve missed you.
Will it take six strong men to bring you back?
REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.