19 Dec 2012 by Timothy Tai-
A churchgoing man once wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it didn’t make sense to go to church every Sunday. This is what he wrote:
“I’ve gone and done it for 30 long years now and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the preachers are wasting theirs too by giving lengthy sermons.”
Much to the editor’s delight, this sparked off a real controversy that went on for weeks in the “Letters to the Editor” column. It finally came to an end however when someone sent in this letter:
“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time, my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this… They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!”
There’s no question that the condition of our spiritual life is dependent on our intake of spiritual nourishment that is, God’s word. God did tell us specifically in Deuteronomy 8:3 that “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
However, one might question the necessity of going to church in order to be fed spiritually.
After all, do we still need to physically go to church on Sunday when we can just go to the church’s website and download the pastor’s message from there? Or better yet, why bother getting out of bed early when we can even “take part” in church services via live streaming and feel as if we’re virtually there? Some churches have even made it possible for us to give our tithes and offerings online as well!
And if that weren’t enough, we could get spiritual supplements by subscribing to the podcasts of various churches and listening to their latest sermons on our iPods. On top of all that, we could always visit Christian websites (like this one of course) and be edified by the many testimonies of what God is doing in the lives of other believers.
So with all that spiritual nourishment that’s available to us on the internet, what’s the point of going to church every Sunday? Do we still need to go?
The answer is a loud resounding YES! And here’s why: Because the church isn’t a building or place where you go to eat your spiritual food and leave. The church is more than that. 1 Corinthians 12:27 tells us, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”You and I and all the other believers around the world make up the church and we each have our own roles to play in the body of Christ.
We need to gather regularly not so that we can merely receive from the sermon, but so that we can also give our worship to God together, build relationships with one another and use our gifts to serve each other. After all, we weren’t just made to have a relationship with God but we were also made to live in community with others. And we cannot do that just by sitting behind a computer screen.
Sure, we might be able to spiritually survive if we just downloaded sermons and browsed Christian websites online, but I suspect that we won’t last for very long.
In closing, allow me to leave you with two final verses:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing. – Psalm 92:13-14 (NKJV)
I hope to meet you in church one of these Sundays!
Note: Timothy grew up in Kuching and worked in KL before jumping off the corporate ladder in 2006. He moved to New York City where he served at an inner-city kids ministry for almost 6 years. He has since returned to KL and has just married his Irish fiancee Sarah.