Skipping Church

Skipping Church

This is what the LORD has commanded: “Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD.” Exodus 16:23

I mentioned recently that my wife and I are adding living space to an old garage, doing most of the work ourselves. It’s intended to be a temporary living arrangement for us, but our goal is to be in it by the end of the month which is quickly approaching. So, our spare time over the last couple of months has been consumed by the project. We didn’t get as much accomplished Saturday as we intended, so on Saturday evening, we decided to skip church Sunday so we could work all day.

Yesterday, Sunday morning, I got up early, wrote my blog, and headed off to the gym. I used my workout time to meditate on today’s passage – which is about observing the sabbath. In doing so, I felt a sting to my conscience. Nuts. Maybe I shouldn’t skip church today. But I just have so much to do! After the gym, I went to jail for a weekly Bible study/recovery meeting. There, we talked about today’s passage, discussing how God used the trials of the wilderness to teach his people faith and obedience, insisting that they observe the Sabbath. Every week, the Israelites were commanded to do this. Failing to do so was disobedience, which led them to self-destruction.

We talked about what following God would mean for own lives and how following own way has led to disaster. I challenged those guys sitting in jail to think about how life will be different when they get out. One of them explained that he needs to completely rearrange his life. For instance, instead of selling meth, he plans go to church every Sunday. Ouch. That stung my conscience even more.

I shared my conflict to those guys, explaining that I’d planned on skipping church. In doing so, I realized that I couldn’t skip. It’s not that I think God would strike me with the pox if I didn’t go. It’s simply that living by faith and recovery means that I must daily follow him above all. If, when I’m really busy, I skip God, what kind of faith is that? That’s the life that once led me to a drug addiction. I know that skipping church once won’t make me relapse instantly. I do know however, that turning from God to follow me is a step towards the old life.

So, we went to church. I’d love to tell you that I experienced some amazing revelation at church. I didn’t. I did, however, find joy and satisfaction in knowing that I followed God’s will instead of my own. And, in the end, we got quite a bit of work done – after church.

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