Cindy and I were at a wedding this past Saturday at our former home in northern IN. We saw many old friends and visited with them at the reception and had a wonderful time. We spoke to some about where we would be worshiping on Sunday morning. One thing bothered both of us. There were a few couples who have pulled away from church. One said they were taking a sabbatical from church. Why? They’ve been hurt or let down by fellow Christians.
I cannot and will not condone Christians who let others down. But as a Christian who has let others down, and has been let down by others, let me say this as lovingly as I can: STICK WITH THE CHURCH! She is the bride of Christ! Don’t take a Sabbatical. If you do – it may become a lifestyle.
Listen, if people want loopholes and excuses to stay away from church I can give you at least one if not two dozen of them. But there is one reason that will keep me in the church for as long as I live no matter how others may hurt me and no matter how often I fail others. The reason I will always stick with the church is because Jesus is sticking with the church. If anyone ever had a valid reason to divorce themselves from the church, He did. But praise God He doesn’t divorce us.
In Ephesians 5:25 Paul told husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. How much did He love the church? So much so that He “gave Himself up for her.” Sometimes we need to give ourselves up for the church too. We need to give up our “rights”: to have things our way; to have people always treat us the way we want to be treated; to feel good about every worship service; to agree with every decision the leadership makes; to (fill in the blank). STICK WITH THE CHURCH. Remember, the church has its flaws – and sometimes we contribute to those flaws. Praise God He still loves us and is making us into His perfect bride who for eternity will exist as “a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish but holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:27). I want to be a part of that!