Duty or Love?
I have always gone to church on a sunday for as long as I can remember. Like literally, since day 1. My grandfather was a pastor / missionary. So yes, church was a family affair regardless of how we felt about it. I honestly didn’t know any different, I thought that was the norm for everyone. Hahaha how sweet and naive… Fast forward to teenage years when I went to boarding school and freedom reigned. All of a sudden my weekends were mine, and I could make my own decisions without any next of kin overlooking anything. I was only twelve when I went to boarding school, and sorry to disappoint, but I didn’t all of a sudden become rebellious and start doing ‘all those things’ that I knew better than not to do. I still went to a church close to my school with a few friends, but for the first time ever, I was responsible for my own spiritual growth. I had to differentiate between doing things out of duty or love. I didn’t have my family around for guidance and that non-negotiable prayer meeting every evening. I had to learn to make conscious decisions to do things like that by myself. Anyway, today I am not focusing on this because there’s not much to say. I did the best I could in the situation, stayed away from substances and behaviours I was taught to stay away from, whilst being a somewhat normal (and cool) teenager. Not perfect, and definitely not weird 😉 But that’s a story for another day.
Today I want to talk about why we go to church. Maybe you, like me, grew up going to church and it just became an ‘automatic’ thing you do on Sundays or Saturdays or whatever day it is you prefer to worship. Sure, you may have an amazing relationship with God but have you ever stopped and thought about why you go to church? Is it to catch up with friends you haven’t seen the whole week? You know, to see people and be seen? Is it to further your creative career? Let’s be real here, most legendary musicians started in church, and we all know church can be an easy platform to showcase your talent. Or could it be because your parents are forcing you? (Trust me you’ll thank them later). Maybe you attend for some other reason that has more weight than just to worship God in His house. But wait, before you get all worked up, know that I am just trying to make you think about stuff that you probably never give much thought to.
Because of all the travel we have been doing the past few months, we haven’t been able to attend church as much as I’d have liked. So every time we are back at base camp (home), which is usually for a few weeks, we make sure we go to church. But in the past two weeks or so, we have been unable to attend because unforseen stuff would just happen on Sundays. LOL no, I don’t think the devil was attacking us (I can hear all you Christians up in arms). Sometimes life just happens, and it hinders your perfectly laid out plans. But this past Sunday I just felt guilty that we were not able to go. Again. First I need you to understand this; I am one of those people who never misses church more than 1 Sunday in a row. Probably the only time I had skipped more than 2 Sundays ina row, I had just given birth or there was some seriously serious reason (bad English I know, but you get the point). So yes, I did feel very guilty even though it was not intentional. Then I just felt God asking me “What’s with the guilt? Why do you go to church in the first place? Is it out of duty, like something you need to tick off the to-do list?” Ok, before you get all spooked out, I’d like to add that this was not in an audible voice. Just like a thought in my head. I don’t think it was to condemn me or anything, because He knows my heart and how much I love Him. But it was more to make me think and be more conscious about the why behind all the things that I do, as well as to realize that as awesome as going to church is, I can worship our omnipresecent God anywhere and everywhere. By the way, that last line is not to enable all those solo Christians who believe they don’t need church. You know, the ones who think they can worship all by themselves at home forever. No. Don’t get it twisted. Church is certainly vital for your spiritual growth as a Christian – just as a family unit is vital for a baby’s growth. OK?
Yeah, like I was saying, I just had to sit down, reckon with myself. I had to remind myself to do things more consciously and be aware of why I do them, as opposed to just being so automated all the time. Sure, it is helpful to be automated like a robot. It helps us be more effective and efficient when it comes to things like work and daily productivity. But when it comes to matters of the heart, especially our individual relationship with God, we need to be all there; mind, body and soul. All your senses have to be awake. For your own good, so you can be able to fully receive all that God has for you and hear whatever He has to say to you clearly.
P.S. With the church thing, go there to worship an Almighty God in His house of worship, with His family. If that is your number 1 reason, then it will always be an enjoyable experience whether or not the worship team sings your favourite song, or your favourite people are there.
Have an amazing week, and thanks for reading all the way up to here. You totes rock, and I will be praying for you this week. Remember to pause and ask yourself this week; am I doing this out of duty or love? It will help put a few things back in perspective.