|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Steadfast and immovable”
Our Bible verse for today: “Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” Romans 13:11 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “It’s time for all of us to wake up”
Yesterday’s devotional was about the alarming steady decline in church attendance in our nation, and the corresponding diminishing influence churches are having in our communities. I noted the large number of books, magazine articles, blog posts, and news items about this problem, and how denominational leaders, seminary professors, writers, and researchers are trying so hard to inform pastors about the scope of the problem so that pastors, the frontline communicators with God’s people, can then alert the people.
But alerting people is itself an increasingly difficult challenge. Just getting people’s attention long enough, and getting them to listen and to do what needs to be done to deal with the problem, is very hard. The great Christian author and social commentator G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “It isn’t that they can’t see the solution, it’s that they can’t see the problem.” Yes, that’s it. We won’t arrive at a solution to the problem if we aren’t even aware that there is a problem.
We live in such a busy and noisy world, and people are so caught up in the busyness of life, that we can’t see the danger and the damage that’s being done to our churches – and by extension, to our communities. If Christian’s are aware, for many of them it’s in a vague way, not in a real and urgent sense – not to the extent that they’re motivated to change their personal habits regarding church attendance and involvement. There are many professing Christians today who were, at one time, faithful in their attendance and who were fully involved in the life of the church. But not anymore. “I don’t need to go to church to be a Christian” is the new favorite mantra.
But the New Testament teaches that faithful church attendance, and full involvement in the life of a good church family, is a crucial part of the practice of our faith. Can we really expect to experience the full blessings of the Christian faith if we’ve detached ourselves from an important element of the practice of the faith? And by extension, can any society expect to experience the gifts of Christendom, the moral virtues and societal benefits, of a faith that a large part of the citizenry isn’t practicing?
But all is not lost, and we shouldn’t despair. The darker the world is, the brighter the church can shine. Historically this has been proven true. There’s still a lot we can do and the problem can get better. A little light chases away a lot of darkness, and while none of us can control the actions of other people, but we can each control our own actions. Each of us can resolve to do our part to be present and to be involved, and we can trust that God will use our faithfulness to have a positive impact on others.
It’s time for all of us to wake up and to step up. The problem will begin to turn around and get better one person at a time. Let’s each of us resolve to do our part to make our churches stronger and to restore the vitality that needs to be there.
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